Race report: Ford Ride London Classique stage 3

Written by: Neil Cormier
Posted 2 weeks ago

Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx-Protime) sprinted to her 3rd straight victory at the Ford RideLondon Classique on Sunday, ahead of Charlotte Kool (dsm-firmenich PostNL) and teammate Lotte Kopecky, who took second and third, respectively. The final overall GC was the same, with Lorena Wiebes taking the overall victory, followed by Charlotte Kool in second, and teammate Lotte Kopecky in third.

The eight lap, 91.2km stage took place in downtown London on an 11.4km circuit that discouraged any sort of breakaways and was ultimately controlled by a peloton of sprinter teams. As expected, breakaway attempts were short-lived, with the most successful coming from Kaja Rysz (Lifeplus Wahoo) and Scarlett Souren (VolkerWessels) who attacked with 44km to go and had a sizeable gap until they were brought back before the last Intermendiate sprint with 23km to go.

In the final lap, teams began setting up their lead-out trains for the sprint, but it was SD Worx-Protime that prevailed, with Lotte Kopecky leading out Wiebes until the last 100 meters and Wiebes finishing it off and winning by a good 4 bike lengths.

Wiebes was pleased to have taken all three stages and had nothing but priase for her team. “It’s always hard to try to do the same again, and hat-tricks are hard to do. But I’m really happy to be unbeatable in RideLondon. I really want to thank my teammates for all the work they did.”

How the race unfolded

For the most part, the peloton was intent on rolling along together and controlling the race for the sprinters so they could contest the two bonus sprints, at 33.7km and 68.2km, and the final sprint. Thoughts of attacking or trying anything else did not seem to be part of any team tactics.

Overall, it was a subdued and calm stage. There were a few mishaps, crashes and mechanicals, but nothing major. With 67km to go, about eight riders went down when a rider switched her line, but fortunately all were able to get back up again and continue.

The first intermediate sprint came with just under 60km to go and was taken by Letizia Paternoster (Liv AlUla) after a masterful leadout by her teammate, Georgia Baker. Clara Copponi (Lidl-Trek) grabbed 2nd place and Marta Lach (Ceratizit-WNT) took third. Interestingly, Paternoster was briefly lifted into 2nd overall on the virtual GC, but missed the GC podium in the end due to her 8th place in the final sprint.

With the first Intermediate sprint concluded, the peloton continued along in a controlled fashion until Kaja Rysz (Lifeplus Wahoo) attacked with 44km to go and was joined by Scarlett Souren (VolkerWessels). The two riders worked well together and had a sizeable gap – almost one minute – until they were brought back right before the last Intermendiate sprint with 23km to go.

In the second Intermediate sprint, it was Ally Wollaston (AG Insurance-Soudal) who took first spot over Letizia Paternoster (Liv AlUla), who was second, and Clara Copponi (Lidl-Trek), third.

With just over 20 km remaining, all the big teams, SD Worx-Protime, dsm firmenich-PostNL, Lidl-Trek, Canyon-SRAM and Liv AlUla Jayco, came to the front and collectively controlled any attacks or accelerations.

Mishaps were few, if any, in the final kilometers. Although, mechanicals did strike Paternoster and Copponi, both who we’re able to get back on thanks to the quick thinking of their teams.

In final sprint, it looked like it might be an even match between Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx-Protime) and Charlotte Kool (dsm firmenich-PostNL), but teammate Kopecky once again did a masterful leadout and Wiebes won easily with plenty of time to raise her three fingers in the air for 3 her victories.

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