Great Britain’s Lizzie Deignan became the first rider to win two OVO Energy Women’s Tour titles as she sealed the 2019 crown at Pembrey Country Park, Carmarthenshire, on Saturday.
The Trek Segafredo rider, who only returned to racing in late April following maternity leave, finished eighth in a reduced bunch sprint to pip Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM Racing) to the overall crown by two seconds – the smallest winning margin in race history.
Dutch rider Amy Pieters (Boels Dolmans) claimed the final stage, beating Leah Kirchmann (Team Sunweb) and Roxane Fournier (Movistar Team) to the line. Pieters placed third overall, 23 seconds behind Deignan, while her team-mate Christine Majerus finished fifth to cap a successful week for the Dutch team.
Lizzie Deignan talks after winning the 2019 OVO Energy Women’s Tour. ©All content CyclingShorts.cc | www.chrismaher.co.uk
“It means a huge amount. I think the last time I came here I was probably one of the favourites to win the race – this time I wasn’t a favourite, so it was a different experience. It was totally a team experience.
“I won through just grit and determination. I’m away from my daughter for a reason. I’m here to do a job and I’ve got a fantastic team around me. I don’t want to let them down.
“It’s a huge honour. I’m just delighted, lost for words really. The perspective you gain from having a year out of the sport is amazing. My attitude is just about enjoying it, I’ve never had that attitude before and it’s really paying dividends. I’m in the best team in the world I feel like from a support perspective and just the women around me just lift me up.”
Deignan crossed the line in eighth position in the 33-rider front group to take victory, having doubled her overnight one-second lead thanks to a mid-race time bonus from the Eisberg Sprint at Penygroes. As well as the OVO Energy Green jersey the Trek Segafredo rider takes the Breast Cancer Care Points jersey through her consistent finishing across the six stages, and the HSBC UK British Cycling Best British Rider jersey.
The stage win for Pieters was her third in OVO Energy Women’s Tour history, being added to previous victories in Stratford-upon-Avon (2016) and Stoke-on-Trent (2017). With Majerus and double stage victor Jolien D’hoore providing the perfect lead-out, the Dutchwoman was delighted with the win.
“The plan was to try to win the stage,” said Pieters. “I think we had a good plan and a good week with the whole team, so I think we need to be happy with this.
“The girls did a really strong lead-out for me and I’m happy that I could finish it off. I felt really good today and I’m happy with that because it was a really hard week and I’m happy that the last day I was still good.”
Defending OVO Energy Women’s Tour champion Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) took the Eisberg Sprints jersey for a second year, getting into a group of 11 riders that broke away early on the Carmarthenshire route to seal the jersey at the first intermediate Eisberg sprint.
The final classification jersey went to Warwickshire summit finish winner Niewiadoma, who withstood the challenge of Majerus for a one-point advantage in the SKODA Queen of the Mountains jersey, while the aggressive riding of Sarah Roy (Mitchelton Scott) was rewarded with the Wahooligan Combativity Award.
Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Carmarthenshire County Council Executive Board Member for Culture Sport and Tourism, said: “The OVO Energy Women’s Tour has been a resounding success, and has been the perfect showcase of our best landscape and cycling facilities.
“As a local authority, we are proud of our significant investment in facilities and infrastructure to support the growing cycling enthusiasm that we’re working so hard to build. Today’s race started at the historic Carmarthen Velodrome, the oldest in the world, and ended at our purpose-built National Closed Road Circuit at Pembrey Country Park.
“We are particularly proud of Manon Lloyd [Drops], who is from Carmarthenshire and who started her cycling career with Towy Riders in Carmarthen. It must have been a fantastic feeling for her to compete with the best in the world on home soil and I hope she felt the strength of the crowd behind her.”
Once more the OVO Energy Women’s Tour will offer prize money parity with the men’s Tour of Britain, thanks to award winning independent energy supplier OVO Energy, the title sponsors for a third edition of the race.
Highlights of Stage Six will be shown on ITV4 at 20:00 on Saturday15 June with a repeat at 06:10 on Sunday 16 June on the same channel. Programmes will be available on demand via the ITV Hub catch up service and via Eurosport in the UK and around the world.
Stage 6 - overall Tour Results
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