Race report: Ford Ride London Classique stage 1

Written by: ProCycling Women
Posted 3 weeks ago

With a powerful sprint, Lorena Wiebes won the first stage of the 2024 Ford Ride London Classique.

The Dutch cyclist defeated Letizia Paternoster and Clara Copponi in Colchester, claiming her fourth stage victory in the history of the Ford Ride London Classique. This win gives Wiebes one more stage victory than her compatriot Kirsten Wild, making her the record holder for stage wins!

How the race unfolded

The seventh edition of the Ford Ride London Classique started at the stately 17th-century Audley End House in Saffron Walden. With a novelty from the race organization, bonus points were awarded on climbs instead of intermediate sprints, promising plenty of action. However, despite the first climb being situated just 8.6 kilometers into the race, the expected contenders for the general classification remained quiet.

Not holding back were adventurers Lea Lin Teutenberg and Rebecca Koerner. For several kilometers, April Tacey tried to join the duo, but the Team Coop – Repsol rider was quickly reeled back in by the peloton.

The two leaders stayed ahead of the peloton for a long day out. Danish champion Koerner (Uno-X Mobility) and Teutenberg (CERATIZIT-WNT Pro Cycling Team) initially gained a small lead, but the peloton became more lenient after about fifty kilometers.

The duo never got too far away, with their maximum lead just under three and a half minutes. Along the way, they divided the spoils. Koerner won all three QOM sprints, securing the maximum nine mountain points and nine bonus seconds. German rider Teutenberg crossed the two intermediate sprints first.

From the peloton, Lorena Wiebes, who won all three stages of the 2022 Ford Ride London Classique, showed her ambitions for a GC win once again. The Dutch sprinter won the duel with Soraya Paladin on Sandy Hill, the last categorized climb of the day, 53 kilometers from the finish, earning the final extra bonus second behind the leaders.

The descent from Sandy Hill saw several riders attempting to escape from the peloton. Maaike van der Duin was among those making an effort, but the peloton, led by Team SD-Worx – Protime and Team Visma | Lease a Bike, remained focused on organizing a mass sprint.

A few kilometers after the second and final intermediate sprint, once again won by Lea Lin Teutenberg, the peloton caught the escapees. Tomorrow, Koerner will wear the reward of their shared effort: the orange mountain jersey.

In the final stretch towards Colchester, two riders tried to use the narrow and winding roads to disrupt the sprint preparations. Following an attack by Alice Towers (Canyon//SRAM Racing), Lauretta Hanson (Lidl-Trek) countered. The two quickly gained a twenty-second lead, but after a brief hesitation, the peloton woke up and neutralized the threat.

Initially, top favorite Lorena Wiebes hooked onto Clara Copponi’s (Lidl-Trek) sprint train, but Team SD-Worx – Protime organized their own lead-out in time. Positioned behind Barbara Guarischi and world champion Lotte Kopecky, the Dutch sprinter was launched to an unstoppable victory. Letizia Paternoster (Liv AlUla Jayco) finished a distant second, marking her best result of the season. A satisfied Clara Copponi completed the podium.

Tomorrow, the second stage will start and finish in Maldon. Along the route, the riders will face North Hill three times, a kilometer-long climb at a 6.2% gradient. However, it is expected that the sprinters will once again have their turn.

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