Race Report: Lloyds Bank Tour of Britain Women Stage 4

Written by: Neil Cormier
Posted 3 days ago

Ruby Roseman-Gannon (Liv AlUla Jayco) nabbed stage 4 of the Lloyds Bank Tour of Britain Women from Christine Majerus (SD Worx-Protime), who mistakenly believed she had won and raised her arm in victory too soon. Majerus’s teammates Lorena Wiebes and Lotte Kopecky took third and fourth on the stage, with Kopecky also securing the final overall victory.

Kopecky’s decision to sit up in the final meters of the sprint when she had a clear victory was perplexing to TV viewers and commentators, but she explained afterwards in the post-race interview that it had been planned.

“We made the choice to go today for Christine Majerus in the sprint,” Kopecky said, “and we did it perfectly until the last gap around the corner. It was too big for me so I was not going to take the win as I saw Christine going. We made this deal that she is going to win today but maybe it was a stupid mistake. I still, however, would have done the same. It could have been a nice ending for Christine, but we finished well as a team.”

“Ruby is a good rider so it was nice for her but I am happy that Christine got the bonus seconds to get third so it is nice. Maybe it is a little funny and it is what it is and I’m not disappointed,” Kopecky summed up.

Winner Roseman-Gannon was crying with joy – literally – after the finish. “I just can’t believe it – the plan today was to really race aggressively and take some seconds back. We had a really good team ride and they were actually smashing that first climb. I was actually struggling and then there was full commitment into the next climb and some selections made.”

Roseman-Gannon explained how their original plan for the finish fell through. “We really wanted to get Letizia (Paternoster) out there, but unfortunately she got a puncture so it didn’t go to plan. I asked whether I should go back, they said no and to focus on the finish. I still can’t believe I have won that – it’s my first European win and I’m still in shock.”

“It’s when you really don’t expect it,” Roseman-Gannon further said, “some races you come in as a leader and you have a lot of pressure, and other races you come in and it all works out. Today I was pretty worried about the rain and I was nervous about crashing and I wasn’t really in the right mindset that I was going to win the race, but to win is amazing. Overall it was a great race!”

Lizzie Deignan (GB Cycling Team) was pleased to have defended her Queen of the Mountains jersey and explained how the day unfolded for her without any plan to go solo.

“[The solo attack] was kind of by accident to be honest,” said Deignan. “I was just really going for the points on the mountain and saw a gap and thought well there’s nothing to lose now! I’ve got the jersey secured, I was just trying to put Anna in a good position. It was a nice atmosphere, I heard my name lots of times, lots of Yorkshire flags, and I knew the kids were at the finish line too so it was a lovely day. I think it was a success, obviously we came here trying to win overall, but Anna did a brilliant job on the GC.”

The best placed British rider was Anna Henderson (Great Britain Cycling Team) who finished in 2nd place overall, 17 seconds behind Lotte Kopecky.

“It was a good day for the team,” Henderson said afterwards. “We took the Queen of the Mountains with Lizzie, and then finished off with me finishing second in GC. A really nice few days with the girls – the way they protected us really well. The day was special.”

“Lizzie did such a good job,” Henderson further said. “She really put SD Worx[ProTime] under pressure, she was really amazing. She kept on attacking to set me up so I got away with the favorites each time but I just couldn’t get away solo to put that gap between me and Lotte, she was just too strong today. She is the champion, shout-out to her for winning.”

Overall, SD Worx-Protime was the big winner in this year’s Tour of Britain Women, winning three stages, the overall GC, the points jersey, and the team classification. Not a bad haul. But with only four WorldTour teams participating, and one national team composed of WWT riders (GB Cycling team), perhaps it was no surprise that Kopecky and Co. were so successful.

The uncertainty earlier in the year as to whether the race would take place forced many WorldTour teams to consider other options in the race schedule. To make up for the lack of WorldTour teams, the Tour of Britain organizers invited ten Continental teams (60 riders) and this swelled the number of participants from thirty WWT riders to ninety riders total. In the end, however, the only Continental team that was really able to ride competitively was the Dutch VolkerWessels team, which took won the best young rider jersey with Eline Jansen (22).

Race organizers, British Cycling, acknowledged the challenges of organizing the event this year at such late notice, but are optimistic and looking forward to a bigger event in 2025.

How the race unfolded

The 99.2km stage 4 started in Manchester and looped in a northwest direction around greater Manchester before heading south and finishing in nearby Leigh. It was the shortest stage of the 4-day tour and featured 1404 meters of climbing and two category 1 climbs.

The race began with a number of attacks with one rider eventually breaking away, Krista Doebel-Hickok (Human Powered Health). However, her time out front was short-lived and she was caught before the first climb, Grains Bar (2.4km/5.8%), at around 12km by Great Britain Cycling Team and Liv-Alula-Jayco who were driving the pace.

As the peloton pushed to the top of the first climb, Lizzie Deignan (Great Britain Cycling Team) was first over the line to take the maximum QoM points and found herself with a gap on the strung-out peloton behind. On the descent, teammate Anna Henderson (Great Britain Cycling Team) monitored the pace in the peloton to allow Deignan to establish a 30 second gap into Shaw and she extended her advantage.

Team SD Worx-Protime then went to the front and began to slowly work to bring Deignan back, but were interrupted by Charlotte Kool (dsm-Firmenich PostNL) who decided to attack and try her luck. After a few kilometers, Kool was brought back by the peloton and riders began to prepare themselves for the short, steep climb, Ramsbottom Rake (1.1km/10.1%).

Deignan hit the climb and powered up the steep gradients, while behind attacks began to come from a group of riders that included Letizia Paternoster (Liv-Alula-Jayco), Franziska Koch (dsm-Firmenich PostNL), Charlotte Kool (dsm-Firmenich PostNL), Anna Henderson (GB Cycling team), and Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx-Protime).

Deignan succesfully crested the climb to claim maximum QoM points again, and in doing so, secured the overall Queen of the Mountains classification. Closely behind, teammate Anna Henderson and Letizia Paternoster (Liv Alula Jayco) took second and third QoM points.

Deignan began the descent with less than 10 seconds and a group chasing her led by Pfeiffer Georgi (dsm-Firmenich PostNL), Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx-ProTime) Christine Majerus (SD Worx-ProTime), Anna Henderson (GB Cycling team), Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx-Protime) and Letizia Paternoster (Liv-Alula-Jayco). But it was only a matter of time before Deignan was reeled in and absorbed by the peloton.

More attacks came in the final 20km over some punchy terrain and the bunch became strung out with riders losing contact as the peloton pushed the pace into the intermediate bonus sprint in Horwich at 74.5km. Contesting the sprint were teammates Majerus and Wiebes (SD Worx-Protime) against Paternoster (Liv-Alula-Jayco), with Majerus taking a very close sprint, followed by Paternoster and Wiebes.

Immediatley afterwards, British Cycling teammates Henderson and Deignan attacked, but were quickly brought back by Georgi, Kopecky, and Paternoster.

With 15km to go, a small group containing Kopecky, Henderson, Georgi, and Paternoster formed and quickly grew their gap to 40 seconds.

Behind, Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx-Protime) attacked from the peloton and quickly began to bridge up to the four leaders who had stopped working together.

With 10km to go, Wiebes caught the group of four and shortly afterwards the reduced peloton caught all five of them. With the peloton now consisting of around 25 riders, a sprint appeared certain.

The usual attacks came in the final kilometers, but no one was able to get away. Letizia Paternoster was the unfortunate victim of a puncture outside the 3km mark and was not able to regain the group. As a result, she dropped from third to fifth in the final GC.

In the final kilometer, Elena Cecchini (SD Worx-Protime) went to the front and began the first part of the leadout for her team. Then at 500 meters, teammate Lotte Kopecky took over, moving with such speed that she gapped her teammate behind her, Christine Majerus, who had been designated as the team’s rider to win the stage.

With 200 meters to go, Kopecky realized what she had done, and sat up and freewheeled to let Majerus catch up, but it was an error that would cost the team the victory. Majerus sprinted and crossed the line and raised her arm, thinking she had won, but it was too late, at the last moment Ruby Roseman-Gannon came through the middle and won by half a bike wheel.

RESULTS

Stage 4: Manchester > Leigh (99.2km)

1.Ruby Roseman-Gannon (Liv ALUla Jayco) 2:37:51
2. Christine Majerus (SD Worx-Protime)
3. Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx-Protime)
4. Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx-Protime)
5. Eline Jansen (Volker Wessels)
6. Pfeiffer Georgi (dsm-firmenich PostNL)
7. Flora Perkins (Great Britain Cycling Team)
8. Elinor Barker (Great Britain Cycling Team)
9. Josie Talbot (Cofidis)
10 Anna Henderson (Great Britain Cycling Team) all m.t.

General Classification – Final

1.Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx-Protime) 10:25:49
2. Anna Henderson (GB Cycling Team) 17”
3. Christine Majerus (SD Worx-Protime) 34”
4. Pfeiffer Georgi (dsm-firmenich PostNL) 38”
5. Letizia Paternoster (Liv ALUla Jayco) 40”
6. Eline Jansen (Volker Wessels) 43”
7. Lizzie Deignan (Great Britain Cycling Team) 46”
8. Victorie Guilman (St Michel-Mavic-Auber 93) m.t.
9. Ruby Roseman-Gannon (Liv ALUla Jayco) 2:50”
10. Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx-Protime) 4:14”

 

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