Race report Tour de Suisse Women: Bradbury and Niewiadoma celebrate 1-2 on Stage 3

Written by: Felix Mattis
Posted 4 weeks ago

A masterpiece of aggressive team tactics was created by Canyon // SRAM Racing on stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse Women 2024. The german Women’s WorldTeam celebrated a 1-2 in Champagne, with Neve Bradbury not only taking victory ahead of teammate Katarzyna Niewiadoma, but also climbing up to second place on General Classification.

The duo reached the finish line after 125.6 kilometers 1’55 ahead of their nearest rivals, Femke de Vries (Visma – Lease a Bike) and Amanda Spratt (Lidl – Trek), who they rode in the breakaway of the day together with. Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl – Trek / + 2’11) finished fifth on the stage, leading a group of four over the line, with overall leader Demi Vollering (SD Worx – Protime), teammate and compatriot Gaia Realini and Kim Cadzow (EF Education – Cannondale) from New Zealand just behind the Italian Champion.

“It’s crazy! I didn’t think at the start of today, that I would be winning this stage. We really wanted to win and make it a hard stage – and that’s what we did. So, it’s great”, Bradbury smiled in the winner’s interview.

Canyon // SRAM Racing rode aggressively from the start of the day, attacked multiple times and finally had two women in the five rider breakaway of the day. Then Bradbury and Niewiadoma dropped their companions on the final climb with roughly 15 kilometers to go and from then on worked perfectly together towards the finish, to extend their lead. On the finishing straight then Niewiadoma pulled hard for Bradbury, before she swung off to let her 22 year old teammate take her first UCI Women’s WorldTour victory.

“The plan was to let me win to get the bonus seconds, because I am a little bit higher on GC”, Bradbury explained. In fact she moved up to second place on General Classification exactly by four seconds ahead of Longo Borghini – just the four seconds of difference between a stage win and second place.

Niewiadoma: "To say thank you in that way was more than a pleasure"

“It would have been nice to give Kasia the win, because she was really, really strong. But at the end it was for GC”, Bradbury said and Niewiadoma was all smiles as well: “She’s been working for me so many times, so to say thank you in that way was more than a pleasure for me”, the UCI Gravel World Champion said.

Vollering, who won the first two stages of the Tour de Suisse Women 2024, finished in sixth place and defended her yellow jersey as overall leader. The Dutchwoman now sits 1’22 ahead of Bradbury and 1’26 ahead of Longo Borghini. Realini follows at 1’28 in fourth place, Cadzow (+ 1’39) is fifth and Niewiadoma (+ 2’14) moved up to sixth place on GC. Vollering also leads the points classification, Elise Chabbey (Canyon // SRAM Racing) remains the leader of the mountain classification and Bradbury took the lead in the young rider classification from Cadzow.

How the race unfolded:

The race started with a demanding climb up from Lac Leman and out of Vevey to reach the first QOM sprint at km 6.5. On the steep slopes of Chemin des Curnilles with gradients of up to 23.5% the peloton exploded and many small groups emerged over the top, where Elise Chabbey (Canyon // SRAM Racing) crossed the Cat. 2 QOM line first and extended her lead in the climber’s jersey. But on rolling terrain afterwards, most groups came back together, until at km 23 Neve Bradbury (Canyon // SRAM Racing) and Elena Pirrone (Team Roland) attacked and quickly built a lead of 1 minute.

On the second categorized climb, up the Route de Thierrens at Moudon, Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon // SRAM Racing), Amanda Spratt (Lidl – Trek) and Femke de Vries (Visma – Lease a Bike) attacked from the chasing bunch and joined the two leaders at the Cat. 3 QOM sprint with 89 kilometers left to race. Bradbury took the 3 points for the mountain classification and the five leaders had a gap of 50 seconds over the main bunch, which they extended to 3’10 until 40 kilometers before the finish.

Then dsm-firmenich – PostNL started to help SD Worx – Protime with the work at the head of the peloton and the trend slowly started to change. But when they crossed the finish line in Champagne for a first time with 19 kilometers to go, the stopwatch still showed a gap of 2’10. On the following climb to Vaugondry (4.3 km at 6.7%) Bradbury and Niewiadoma quickly dropped their companions and from then on rode a two rider team time trial towards the finish.

Behind them De Vries and Spratt lost second after second and Pirrone was caught back by the best climbers of the peloton before the top of the hill at 13 kilometers to go. These were Demi Vollering (SD Worx – Protime), Elisa Longo Borghini, Gaia Realini (both Lidl – Trek) and Kim Cadzow (EF Education – Cannondale), the Top 4 of the General Classification.

They crawled back to 1’30 behind the two leaders and 15 seconds behind De Vries and Spratt over the top of the climb, but then lost time again after the descend, when Longo Borghini and Realini decided not to help Vollering and Cadzow with the chasing. For that reason the gap opened up again and grew to over two minutes.

At the front, Niewiadoma pulled hard for Bradbury and then let the Australian pass on the finishing straight to gift her the victory and vital 10 bonus seconds. That helped Bradbury to climb to second place on GC by four seconds ahead of Longo Borghini, who crossed the finish line 2’11 behind her in fifth place and dropped back to third on GC.

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