Aviva Women’s Tour – Stage 2

All images ©www.chrismaher.co.uk / CyclingShorts.cc

Jolien d’Hoore sprinted to victory in Clacton to move within one second of the race leader, Lisa Brennauer, as the fancied general classification riders began to flex their muscles.

“I feel good, I’m getting stronger but I also have a good team around me and that makes a difference. You can never win a race alone. I don’t know about GC but I did want to win a stage. I have that now and I can stay relaxed. Let’s see how I go.”

The reigning Belgian national road race champion of Wiggle Honda showing her liking for tough uphill sprints with a fine win on Marine Parade in Clacton.

Aviva Yellow jersey Brennauer also looked in ominously good form sprinting to second place while Christine Majerus of the Boels Dolmans team was in third place with another big overall contender Emma Johansson in close attendance in fourth place.

With the peloton catching the break four kilometres from the finish in Clacton, the multi-talented d’Hoore, a former World Junior Champion on the road, positioned herself perfectly coming up the long drag into the Essex seaside resort to win by a wheel to record her latest win in an increasingly impressive season.

Jolien D,Hoore & Elinor Barker Womens Tour 2015 – Stage 2 Interview by Cycling Shorts

Jolien D,Hoore (Wiggle Honda) & Elinor Barker (Matrix Fitness) talk to the press after stage 2 of the Women’s Tour 2015.

“It was pretty close in the end,”admitted d’Hoore.“I went form the last corner but it was uphill and into the wind so I didn’t know if I could make it. I was hoping GIorgia Bronzini was in my wheel, in fact the original plan was for me to lead her out but she wasn’t there. She told me to go from the corner and she would try and stay in the wheel so I just gave everything until the finish.

“I feel good, I’m getting stronger but I also have a good team around me and that makes a difference. You can never win a race alone. I don’t know about GC but I did want to win a stage. I have that now and I can stay relaxed. Let’s see how I go.

“I had two weeks complete off the bike and then I had a five week training period which was pretty tough. It’s a little bit of a risk when you rest like that but I was confident that my form was good. I am happy.”

D’Hoore has all sort of options ahead of her and objectively she must be a contender for the World Road Race Championship in Richmond, Virginia which she has seen and describes as a very up and down “Belgian style” course with a few comforting cobbles for good measure.

But Rio 2016 is possibly and even bigger focus and in particular the Omnium on the track where she could yet prove the strongest rival to the triumvirate of Laura Trott, Annette Edmondson and Sarah Hammer who have dominated the event in recent years. D’Hoore finished fifth at London 2012 but was an outstanding winner at the World Cup at the Lee Valley Velodrome last year.

“For Rio I am going 100% for the track and my road season next year will be short to plan for that,” insists d’Hoore. My goal is the Omnium for sure”  

Meanwhile Brennauer, the World Time Trial champion, is revealing an unexpected talent for sprint finishes with her second runners up spot in two days confirming her in the Aviva Yellow Jersey that she wore today in place of the absent Armitstead, who, as she had announced the previous night, decided not to continue after her nasty crash after her stage win in Aldeburgh.

Lisa Brennauer Interview Stage 2 – Aviva Womens Tour 2015 by Cycling Shorts

Lisa Brennauer of team Velcro SRAM talks post Stage 2 of the Aviva Womens Tour 2015 as she tops the GC podium.

“It felt quite weird for me to be wearing the yellow jersey today. I feel really sorry for what happened to Lizzie yesterday, it’s never nice when somebody gets hurt in a crash

“I’m not really concentrating on my sprinting despite the two second places. I think perhaps I am just getting a better athlete. I’m not a pure sprinter and probably never will be but I can be fast especially when I get a nice lead out and the finishes on the last two days have suited me.

“It was pretty hectic today with a lot of teams trying to set their sprinters up, my team did a really great job setting me up around the last left hand corner when we hit the coast. The sprint opened up and I just did my best. I want to fight or this yellow jersey but the GC is close, so much can happen.”

Brennauer also retains her lead in the Chain Reactions Cycles Points competition, with second overall d’Hoore wearing that jersey for Friday’s stage in Nothamptonshire, while Melissa Hoskins of Orica AIS leads the Strava Queen of the Mountains competition having picked up points on both classified climbs.

UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling kept hold of the SweetSpot Best Young Rider jersey with Coryn Rivera while Elinor Barker of Matrix Fitness, currently in ninth position overall, wears the Premier Inn Best British Rider Jersey.

After her starring role in the day’s breakaway, and repeated attempts to escape, Bigla Pro Cycling’s Vera Koedooder took the day’s YodelDirect Combativity Award while the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team also lead the Aviva Team Classification.

Stage 2 Results

Stage2

 

GC after Stage 2

Stage2GC

U23:  Coryn Rivera

Best British: Elinor Barker

Points: Lisa Brennauer

Queen of the Mountains: Melissa Hoskins

Team: UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling

Highlights of Stage Two are on ITV4 at 8pm on Thursday 18 June, with a repeat at 11.05am on Friday morning.

 

AvivaWT_Stage3_Map-1

Stage Three sees the race return to Oundle, the Grand Depart town for last year’s inaugural Women’s Tour, which this year acts as the start for a demanding 139.2km run to Kettering through the Northamptonshire countryside. With the most demanding terrain so far and a stage length just 800m short of the maximum allowed by the UCI, this should be where the Aviva General Classification race kicks off in earnest, especially off the back of a long and hard ridden Stage Two in Suffolk and Essex.

Aviva Women’s Tour 2015 – Stage 1

All Image ©www.chrismaher.co.uk / CyclingShorts.cc

 

The start of the Aviva Womens Tour 2015 got off to a ‘smashing’ start for Lizzie Armitstead and members of the media, not quite the finish everyone was anticipating.

 

With the profile of the 110km stage it looked like it would end in a bunch sprint but with QoM’s points to contest just before the finish there could be an upset.
Some of the big name riders in the hunt for a win were Bronzini and Armitstead, with their teams Wiggle Honda and Boels Dolman respectively keeping the pace high.

Aviva Women's Tour 2015 | Stage OneKatie Archibald, Pearl Izumi, “I think this race has been designed with the TV in mind with possible bunch sprint finishes. Stage 4 has a really technical finish but we hope to have everyone fighting it out to the end. My role in the team will be to sprint with the other Katie [Curtis], we will be looking for that kick at the end, Sarah Storey and Ciara Horne will be our main climbers.”

Archibald hit the deck approaching the first QoM (Queen of the Mountains) but Joanna Rowsell hung back to help her Pearl Izumi sprinter back into the pack, once she’d been seen by the race doctor. Armitstead looked to control the pace heading towards the QoM with Sharon Laws (last years QoM winner). Susanna Zorzi of Lotto Soudal unfortunately got a flat at the bottom of the climb.
6 pojnts went to Melissa Hoskins of Orica with Anouska Koster hot on her heels for the 5 points.

Lizzie Armitstead, “My form is good, I had a mini season break in May came back with two wins, I won the Tour of Qatar, I’ll take that confidence into the sprints but a much more lumpy race would really suit me.”

Orica AIS rider Emma Johansson, “ I’ve just come out of a tour in Spain that was really successful for me, I came away with 3 wins, I don’t feel like there is any pressure on me, I’m just gonna enjoy every day.”

The first sprint points were contested by a group of four riders but Coryn Rivera (UHC) won the sprint gaining the first 3 points of the tour followed by Marta Tagliaferro (2 points) and Elinor Barker (1 point).

Hannah Barnes UHC, “ I’m mostly looking at stage wins this Tour, last year was good with two top fours, Coryn and I are on form so the team is hoping to have a really good week.”

USA’s Heather Fischer took a nasty fall in the race for the second sprint, Tagliaferro took maximum points followed by Barker and Rivera.

Laura Trott, Matrix Fitness, “It went well at the Tour Series and the Milk Race for me, these stages are a bit longer than an hour race, two of the stages are 140km which isn’t what we train for, as long as I can get to the finish I think I can do ok.”

A five rider breakaway was established as the second QoM loomed ahead, the group consisted of the previous sprint contest riders, they were joined by Katie Archibald, and Coryn Rivera’s UHC team mate Katie Hall who was sitting on the back wheel waiting to pounce. The peloton chase was being led by Wiggle Honda with a 3 minute gap to the leaders at one point. Another gap developed as Katie Archibald struggled with the climb and was distanced from her breakaway companions. The UHC riders took the top two points available as the QoM summit (Katie Hall 6pts and Coryn Rivera 5pts). Archibald was last over the line for the breakaway taking 2 points as she started to slip slowly backwards, eventually when the peloton arrived at the QoM’s Sharon Laws mopped up the remaining point uncontested.

Giorgia Bronzini, Wiggle Honda, “For me and my team this race is a big goal, we are here with good riders and we are prepared for every solution that can be in the race.”

The leading group was down to four riders with 10km’s to go. Orica snd Wiggle had raised the pace on the front of the peloton and the lead groups advantage of 2 minutes 45 was eroded to 55 seconds.

Lisa Brennauer of Velcro SRAM“I think there are more possibilities for a sprinter than just the bunch sprint this tour, I hope it’s going to be exciting and not predictable as to who’s going to win.”

With 5km’s to go the lead group were dangling like a carrot in front of the hungry peloton.

With 2km to go the race became exposed to the crosswinds of the coast with those hiding in the peloton at an advantage.

Aviva Women's Tour 2015 | Stage OneUnder the Flame rouge and the breakaway was hanging in by a thread. They were quickly absorbed into the peloton. The sprinters came to the front and immediately Armitstead, Frapporti, Brennauer and Johansson showed their form. Crossing the line first was Lizzie Armitstead with Lisa Brennauer 2nd, and Emma Johansson 3rd.

The days spills didn’t end there, moments after the win Lizzie appeared to swerve to her left and in doing so hit a number of the press photographers, CyclingShorts.cc Chris Maher was one of them, they fell like a pack of cards. The photographers were in their correct position along with race organisers. Currently nothing is known about why Lizzie lost control of her bike but she went down very hard. She was rushed to hospital with a suspected broken femur, she was released later luckily with nothing more serious than bruises. Lizzie thanked everyone for their concern and also thanked the NHS staff who treated her.

Armitstead has a 4 second lead after stage one with a time of 2h39’43”. We wish Lizzie well and hope she’s able to defend her jersey tomorrow.

Stage One | Bury St Edmonds to Alderburgh

Stage1Results

 

U23 – Coryn Rivera

Best British – Lizzie Armitstead

Points – Lizzie Armitstead

Queen of the Mountains – Katie Hall

Team – UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling

 

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Aviva Women’s Tour Women’s Tour

 

Thursday 18th June 2015 | Stage Two | Braintree to Clacton

AvivaWT_Stage2_Map-1

Words by Anna, Images by Chris Maher

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