Race report: Ford Ride London Classique stage 2

Written by: ProCycling Women
Posted 3 weeks ago

After winning the first stage, Lorena Wiebes also claimed victory in the second stage of the Ford London Classique, once again thanks to a formidable lead-out by world champion Lotte Kopecky.

How the Race Unfolded

Yesterday, the first categorized climbs were within the first twenty kilometers of the race, leading to an early breakaway. Today, however, the focal point of the race was much later in the course. In the lead-up to the circuit loop around Maldon, various riders attempted to break away, but none succeeded.

As the peloton reached kilometer 0 and the race official waved the flag to start the race, it was Zoe Bäckstedt who immediately accelerated. This was a precursor to a very active Canyon//SRAM Racing team, as would become evident in the finale.

Only one rider managed to stay ahead of the peloton for a brief moment. Ella Jamieson of Lifeplus Wahoo gained a maximum lead of 22 seconds. Since no one joined her and the peloton didn’t let her go, her adventure was short-lived.

The reason no breakaway was allowed became clear as the riders approached Wickham Bishop, entered the local lap and faced the first of three climbs of North Hill: Lorena Wiebes had set her sights on winning everything possible today.

On the first climb of North Hill in Little Baddow, the Dutch rider used her explosiveness to reach the summit first, ahead of Soraya Paladin and Eleonora Gasparrini. Wiebes not only claimed the three mountain points but also three crucial bonus seconds for the general classification.

On the way to the first finish passage, taken in the opposite direction, the peloton heated up. Several accelerations at the front caused the peloton to split. One rider who wasn’t affected: Lorena Wiebes. The general classification leader continued her mission of collecting everything along the way. The Team SD Worx-Protime leader also took the maximum points at the first intermediate sprint in Wickham Bishop and gained three more bonus seconds on the second climb of North Hill. Behind her, Soraya Paladin and Eleonora Gasparrini again showed their ambitions by finishing second and third.

With a subtotal of 7 points in the mountain classification and one climb to go, Wiebes threatened to take the mountain jersey from Danish champion Rebecca Koerner. However, that didn’t happen. After Margot Vanpachtebeke cleverly snatched the last intermediate sprint from under Maaike van der Duin’s nose, it was Soraya Paladin of Canyon//SRAM who attacked on the final climb of North Hill. Lotte Kopecky countered on behalf of Wiebes, who did not immediately follow, leaving the points and seconds to her Belgian teammate.

From the top of North Hill, it was only 12.2 kilometers to the finish on High Street in Maldon. Twelve restless kilometers, indeed. Although everyone sensed that a sprint finish on the steep final stretches in Maldon was almost inevitable, some riders still tried their luck.

First, Martina Fidanza and Cédrine Kerbaol of CERATIZIT-WNT Pro Cycling Team took their turns, followed by Canyon//SRAM Racing’s Maaike van der Duin, who once again attempted a late attack. Again, because she had done the same yesterday and also last year at almost the same spot. Each time, however, it was the unstoppable Lotte Kopecky who neutralized the attacks for Lorena Wiebes, even when Ilse Pluimers made a final attempt with 5 kilometers to go.

Back in Maldon, the scene remained unchanged: Lotte Kopecky at the front, with Lorena Wiebes in her wheel. Pfeiffer Georgi brought Charlotte Kool forward, who handled the stage better than yesterday despite an early crash. Kool was set up well, but just like yesterday, the Kopecky-Wiebes duo was unbeatable. Lotte Kopecky brought her teammate to an excellent position just before the line, allowing a few powerful pedal strokes to secure Wiebes’ ninth victory of the season.

Behind Wiebes, Charlotte Kool managed to overtake Lotte Kopecky in the fight for second place.

Lorena Wiebes strengthened her lead in the general classification and now stands 20 seconds ahead of Lotte Kopecky, who moved up to second place. Letizia Paternoster, who finished fourth today, dropped to third.

Tomorrow, the Ford Ride London Classique concludes with a spectacular city circuit in the heart of London.

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