Stage 4 – AVIVA Women’s Tour 2016 Race Report

Lizzie Armitstead retained her Aviva Yellow Jersey heading into the final stage of the Aviva Women’s Tour as reigning Olympic Road Race Champion Marianne Vos took the Stage Four victory from Nottingham to Stoke-on-Trent, the European City of Sport for 2016.

Vos headed home Team Liv Plantur’s Leah Kirchmann and Wiggle HIGH5’s Emma Johansson, as a front group of 21-riders contested the finish on an uphill drag into Stoke-on-Trent city centre.

In the process the Rabo Liv rider narrowed her gap to Armitstead on the overall classification to 15-seconds, although Armitstead’s nearest challenger, Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, slipped back to eight-seconds down in second overall, with Elisa Longo Borghini a further two seconds in arrears.

“We race as a team and we race aggressively, that’s always our tactic. From a team perspective we had a good race I had good legs again on the climb,” said Lizzie Armitstead after the stage.

“The race stayed together until the climb and then me, Ashley and Elisa went on the second Queen of the Mountains, Emma was in no-man’s land so she came back up to us and there was a bit of cooperation for maybe 5k and then Emma and Elisa started attacking

“In the final kilometres I could tell they [peloton] were coming back…coming into the final kilometre there were a couple of turns with up-hill flickers and again Emma and Elisa were attacking so it was just about covering them and as the group from behind pulled I tried to put myself in a good position but got caught out a little bit on the last corner.”

Lizzie Armitstead Yellow Jersey – Stage 4 AVIVA Womens Tour 2016 by Cycling Shorts

Yellow Jersey holder after stage 4 of the AVIVA Women’s Tour 2016 – Lizzie Armitstead talks of her frustration after a testing day in the saddle for her team.

Interview – Marianne Vos – Stage 4 Winner – AVIVA Women’s Tour 2016 by Cycling Shorts

Marianne Vos winner of Stage 4 of the AVIVA Women’s Tour 2016 chats at the press conference to the assembled media.

On the tough run through the Staffordshire Moorlands in the final third of the stage, Armitstead had again proved herself to be one of the toughest riders in the race, escaping in a four rider group that went clear on two back-to-back Strava Queen of the Mountains climbs at Ramshorn and Oakamoor.

In addition to the World Champion, her breakaway companions from Stage Three who lie second and third overall, Moolman Pasio and Longo Borghini, joined her along with Swedish national champion Emma Johansson.

The four struck out until just after the final kilometre marker, with Vos leading the chase to catch them on the final climb of Botteslow Street into Stoke-on-Trent city centre.  The winner of the 2014 Women’s Tour made the catch and then straight away led out the sprint through the final corner and into the short, uphill finish straight.

“We were riding full gas and we could see them but they were attacking each other so sometimes they were making really high speeds and sometimes it came closer and then the final kilometre was more up than I expected,” said Vos afterwards.

“On Google Maps it looked a wide road and nicely through some roundabouts but it went ‘boom’ uphill but they were still within 10-seconds, so I decided to just go because otherwise you don’t have a chance.

“I knew I had a chance in the sprint but if there are still four in the lead then you are sprinting for fifth and that wasn’t really in my plan today.”

The stage win for Vos helped her to an unassailable 27-point lead in the Chain Reaction Cycles Points jersey, meaning she just has to finish the race to claim the jersey.

In the Best Young Rider jersey, presented by the city of Stoke-on-Trent in its year as European City of Sport, Floortje Mackaij extended her lead to 51-seconds over teammate Molly Weaver.

UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling’s Katie Hall retained the Strava Queen of the Mountains jersey, but Moolman Pasio ate into her lead, meaning the destination of the jersey will be decided between the two riders on the first Strava Queen of the Mountains climb at Newnham Hill outside Daventry.

For full results and standings from Stage Four, please click here.

Stage Five of the Aviva Women’s Tour takes place in Northamptonshire, the third year that the race has visited the county, with the final day’s racing taking place over 113.2-kilometres between Northampton and Kettering.

For further information on Stage Five, please click here.

Amateur cyclists can also ride part of the Aviva Women’s Tour route this year in the Tour Ride Northamptonshire, the official sportive of the Aviva Women’s Tour.  Taking place one month after the final stage, on Sunday 17 July, 40 and 80-mile routes starting and finishing from Delapre Abbey in Northampton will take place using sections of the Stage Five route, while there is also a fun, off-road 10-mile route for families. To sign-up head to www.tourride.co.uk

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Lizzie Armitstead Yellow Jersey Holder Talks – Stage 4 – Women’s Tour 2016

Yellow Jersey holder after stage 4 of the AVIVA Women’s Tour 2016 – Lizzie Armitstead talks of her frustration after a testing day in the saddle for her team.

Lizzie Armitstead Yellow Jersey – Stage 4 AVIVA Womens Tour 2016 by Cycling Shorts

Yellow Jersey holder after stage 4 of the AVIVA Women’s Tour 2016 – Lizzie Armitstead talks of her frustration after a testing day in the saddle for her team.

Lizzie Armitstead – Stage 3 win and Aviva Yellow Jersey in Derbyshire

Lizzie Armitstead powered to an emotional victory in Chesterfield at the end of the third stage of the Aviva Women’s Tour, outsprinting a trio of breakaway companions to move into the Aviva Yellow Jersey of race leader with two stages remaining.

The reigning World Road Race Champion crossed the line pointing to the sky, dedicating her win in Derbyshire to the memory of Jo Cox, the Birstall MP who was murdered yesterday.

Armitstead crossed the line clear of second placed Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio to now enjoy a five second lead over the Cervelo Bigla rider on the Aviva General Classification, with overnight leader Marianne Vos leading the bunch in for fifth, 36-seconds down.

The Boels Dolmans rider had led Moolman-Pasio and Wiggle HIGH5’s Elisa Longo Borghini across to the day’s breakaway group, catching the group of 11-riders shortly after the Strava Queen of the Mountains climb of Bank Road in Matlock.

Those eleven, who went clear after the feed zone and around 47-kilometres of racing, included the likes of Hannah Barnes, Chantal Blaak and Australian national champion Amanda Spratt, who went on to finish fourth.

Interview – Katie Hall QoM Stage 3 AVIVA Womens Tour 2016 by Cycling Shorts

Post Race media conference with Katie Hall Queen of the Mountains at the end of Stage 3 of the AVIVA Womens Tour 2016. #AVIVA2016

Lizzie Armitstead Yellow Stage 3 Winner Women’s Tour 2016 Interview by Cycling Shorts

Lizzie Armitstead takes control of the AVIVA Women’s Tour 2016 on Stage 3, Lizzies chats to the media.

While the break were working well together, they were powerless to stop the pursuit of Armitstead, Moolman-Pasio and Longo Borghini, with the trio making the junction after the summit of Bank Road having gone clear on the flatter valley roads following the Chain Reaction Cycles Sprint at Darley Dale.

Having missed the move, Vos and her Rabo Liv team chased hard, but with around 15-kilometres to go Armitstead attacked again, at first joined by just Moolman-Pasio before Longo Borghini and Spratt also made the junction.

The quartet worked well to hold off the chasing Rabo Liv, whose pursuit saw the remnants of the breakaway caught, allowing them to contest the finish in Chesterfield’s Market Place, with Armitstead leading out the sprint to take victory, her second ever stage win in the Aviva Women’ Tour.

Behind Vos outsprinted Armitstead’s Boels Dolmans teammate Amalie Dideriksen for fifth, ahead of Leah Kirchmann and Giorgia Bronzini.

In addition to the Aviva Yellow Jersey and a five second lead overall, Armitstead also retained the Adnams Best British Rider Jersey, with Dani King her nearest challenger in that competition, 47-seconds back in 15th overall.

Despite losing yellow Marianne Vos retains the Chain Reaction Cycles Points Jersey, 11-points clear of Stage One winner Christine Majerus,

with Vos’ compatriot Floortje Maackaij holding a 34-second lead in the Best Young Rider classification presented by Stoke-on-Trent, European City of Sport.

Armitstead: Going into the race our plan was we wanted a girl in the front group and I would jump across on that climb [Bank Road, Matlock].

We knew Moolman [Ashleigh] would probably be aggressive, cos she has been in previous races and shes got a kick. So we expected her to launch an attack. I didn’t expect it to go from the bottom! But she did.

I had a good lead-out from Ellen [Van Dyke] and Christine [Majerus] right into the bottom of the climb, so I was really well positioned.

I didn’t follow Ashleigh’s attack initially because I thought if I follow that acceleration, I’d blow-up.

I knew from peoples advice that it was a long steep climb, so I held them at twenty metres and crawled my way back up to them and got over the top with them. Then it was a bit of a slog to get up to the breakaway.

When I arrived, Chantal [Blaak] did some more work on the front and took us as far as she could.

I attacked them to bring the strongest girls in the race away, that was the idea!

Having been in the day’s 11-rider move, Katie Hall led the race across both Strava Queen of the Mountains climbs at Winster and Matlock to take a 14-point lead over Ilona Hoeksma.

For full results and standings following Stage Three, please click here.

Stage Four sees the penultimate stage of the Aviva Women’s Tour head from Nottingham to Stoke-on-Trent, which is celebrating its status as European City of Sport for 2016.  The stage departs from Nottingham’s Old Market Square passing via Swadlincote, Burton-upon-Trent and Uttoxeter before a run through the hills of the Staffordshire Moorlands to finish in Stoke-on-Trent city centre.

For more information on Stage Four, please click here.

Amateur cyclists can also ride part of the Aviva Women’s Tour route this year in the Tour Ride Northamptonshire, the official sportive of the Aviva Women’s Tour.  Taking place one month after the final stage, on Sunday 17 July, 40 and 80-mile routes starting and finishing from Delapre Abbey in Northampton will take place using sections of the Stage Five route, while there is also a fun, off-road 10-mile route for families. To sign-up head to www.tourride.co.uk

 

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