Marianne Vos takes Friends Life Women’s Tour overall victory
Marianne Vos cemented victory in the inaugural Friends Life Women’s Tour by taking her third consecutive stage victory in Bury St Edmunds, out sprinting Giorgia Bronzini and Amy Pieters on Angel Hill.
The ensuing time bonuses ensured Vos finished 30 seconds clear of stage winners Emma Johansson and Rossella Ratto in second and third places, with the latter also claiming the Matrix Fitness Best Young Rider jersey for the highest placed Under-23 rider.
Italian duo Bronzini and Susanna Zorzi, who claimed the week’s overall combativity award, were fourth and fifth overall, with Pieters just edging Lucy Garner and Hannah Barnes in sixth, seventh and eighth places.
Garner also took the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Best British Rider jersey, inheriting it on Sunday morning in Harwich after Lizzie Armitstead withdrew through illness and then defending it from Barnes in the final sprint, despite clipping the barriers in the final corners.
For the second day running Lotto Belisol Ladies’ Emma Pooley was in the thick of the action, winning the Combativity Award for her constant attacking on the 108.3 kilometre stage through Tendring and Suffolk.
Loes Gunnewijk, Lauren Hall and Lisa Brennauer joined Pooley, but with no Rabo Liv rider in the font group they were brought back, setting up the final sprint finish of the week into Bury St Edmunds’ Angel Hill, where packed crowds awaited.
For the third day running it was Vos who powered clear, our sprinting Bronzini, with Pieters and Barnes in close attendance behind.
Vos’ consistent run of top three finishes and bonus points saw her claim the YodelDirect Points jersey, while Sharon Laws and Jolanda Neff’s week long battle for the Strava Queen of the Mountains jersey ended in favour of the British rider, three points ahead of her Swiss counterpart.
Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies claimed the overall Team Classification, with American rider Hall their highest finisher in ninth overall.
Highlights of Stage Five are on ITV4 at 9pm on Sunday evening, with a repeat at 8.10am on Monday morning.