Road Cycling

Vos Moves into GC Lead as Pieters Wins in Downpour

The rain poured but it didn't stop a very exciting race from developing

Ducks would have been very at home on the course for the second stage of the Aviva Women’s Tour, but the riders made it an exciting race that was eventually won via bunch sprint by Amy Pieters (Wiggle High5).

Team mate Giorgia Bronzini told us this morning she was hoping Pieters or Dani King would nab a stage win – and the Dutch cyclist managed to fulfill that wish.

(Scroll down for a gallery of the day)

Pieters got the stage win by a fraction of a bike length

The result, alongside bonus points from Chain Reaction Cycles Sprints, put Marianne Vos (Rabo Liv) into the GC lead – a stunning sight on the podium after her 2014 win.

The 147km route from Atherstone to Stratford-Upon-Avon marked the first of four days of climbing for the peloton and there were whisperings of certain breakaways and attacks on the climbs.

Breaks there certainly were. Before the first Chain Reaction Sprint, 36.7km in, Emilia Fahlin of Ale Cipollini broke clear, and was later joined by Esra Tromp of Parkhotel. However, the pair were caught before the sprint which went to Lotta Lepisto (Cervelo Bigla) with yesterday’s winner Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans) second.

The attacks from Fahlin weren’t over though, over 60km in she made another move, taking with her Gutierrez Ruiz of Cylance Cycling and later United Healthcare rider Laurel Rathbun. Not content in the group, Fahlin went solo, building up a lead of close to 30 seconds before the bunch caught her in the lead up to the first Strava QOM – in Burton Dassett.

The 1.9km climb was narrow and twisty – and lined with crowds to cheer in the riders – who were by now pretty soggy. Streams ran down the road as the riders began their ascent, and behind the convoy struggled on the incline.

Katherine Hall (United Healthcare) was first up the climb, with Canyon//SRAM’s Alena Amialiuksik and Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) third.

The climb was followed by another steep ramp – Edge Hill, and soon after that teams began setting up sprint trains for the second CRC Sprint at Middle Tysoe. The two climbs and surge in pace put some riders in trouble, and a triumphant Marianne Vos (Rabo Liv) was first over the line, with Majerus second and Leah Kirchmann (Liv Plantur) third.

With over 100 km down, another pair attempted a break – young rider Amalie Dideriksen of Boels Dolmans and Malgorzata Jasinska from Ale Cipollini.

The breakaway couple – 20 year old Danish National Road Race Champion Dideriksen and 32 year old Polish Road Race champ Jasinska managed to build a lead of 50 seconds, but they were eventually caught – though not before the peloton had split into three sizeable groups. The first group contained around 30 riders, the next 12, and behind them the bunch.

The race was quickly splitting, and groups of riders were scattered in the pouring rain on this technical and difficult course.

In the final 10km of the stage, the front group of 25 were being hunted down by 12 chasers. With the finishing line just 5km away, the front group bought out the attacks with a big effort from British rider, Nikki Harris (Boels Dolmans) in the final 2km.

With the final few hundred metres closing in, the head racers gave it their all and powered through the finish line a hair breadth apart:

1) Amy Pieters (Wiggle High5)
2) Lisa Brennauer (Canyon//SRAM)
3) Marianne Vos (Raboliv)
4) Gracie Elvin (Orica-AIS)
5) Christine Majerus (Boels Dolman)

After Stage 2, and having collected bonus points in the sprint rounds, Marianne Vos (Rabo Liv) picks up the yellow jersey and points jersey. Lizzie Armistead (Boels Dolman) retains the Adnams best British rider jersey and Katherine Hall (United Healthcare) has the QOM jersey. Finally, Floortje Mackaij  remains the Best Young Rider and Ale’s Emilia Fahlin got the Combativity Prize.

Check out our pics from the stage…

Atherstone was well decked out and prepared for an exciting depart
They say once you've seen a crochet bike, you've seen them all - we disagree!
Local school children had made some beautiful bunting
And there was a lot of it!
All sorts of bikes were out for people to try at Atherstone
Last minute bike checks - because NO ONE wants to ride a bike with dodgy gears or a loose quick release
Riders often talk about how amazing it is to have the opportunity to inspire youngsters
A busy high street in Atherstone with plenty to see and do
Emilia Fahlin of Ale-Cipollini Cycling Team on the attack. Image: Velofocus
Dani King of Wiggle Hi5 Cycling Team leads the chase through the flooded roads. Image: Velofocus
The sprint in Stratford, won by Amy Pieters of Wiggle High5. Image: Velofocus
Stratford was pretty wet as crowds assembled about an hour ahead of the start
A very wet return
There was a feeling of relief at the finish
Dani King warms down after stage 2
Helen Wyman grabs a snap before the presentation
Pieters got the stage win by a fraction of a bike length
Marianne Vos' third place finish sees her take the race lead with three stages to go

We’re here all week – you can see all of our Women’s Tour coverage here. 

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