Sarah Roy sprinted to victory in Royal Leamington Spa at the end of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour’s longest stage, heading home Giorgia Bronzini and Marianne Vos at the finish of the third stage of the race.
Fourth place for overnight leader Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb), combined with time bonuses taken at the intermediate Eisberg Sprints in Kenilworth and Wellesbourne, extended her lead by one second, with Vos now second on general classification at 16 seconds thanks to her finish time bonus.
Dani Rowe (WaowDeals Pro Cycling) remains the top Brit in third overall and wears the Adnams Best British Rider jersey, four seconds behind team-mate Vos, while Rivera continues to hold both the Eisberg Sprints and Breast Cancer Care Points jerseys.
Roy, who won a stage at Chesterfield during the 2017 race put her success down to the work of her team, and their thorough preparation.
“In the final kilometre I was really well looked after,” said the Mitchelton-SCOTT rider. “Any important parts of the race we try to research beforehand and we talk about it a lot, and we go and look at on Google Street View, so we were really well researched today and I was really well prepared. I think that helped.
“I wasn’t confident coming over the climbs today, I didn’t have a great day yesterday so I really tried to turn it around today. You saw it, I was a little bit overwhelmed at the finish there and had a few tears.
“My team have given me the opportunity today and I thought I’m going to take this one and give it all I’ve got. You’ve seen them work their butts off out there covering all their attacks and I was just super thankful for their work out there today, so to pull it off is the nicest feeling.”
Sunshine and warm temperatures welcomed the OVO Energy Women’s Tour to Warwickshire for the third time, with large crowds cheering the riders off from the centre of Atherstone on the 150 kilometre leg.
A fast start to the stage saw the racing stay together until the first Eisberg Sprint at Kenilsworth, with Rivera taking the honours from Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans)
A break containing Ann-Sophie Duyck (Cervélo-Bigla) and Vita Heine (Team Hitec Products-BIRK Sport) soon went clear, eventually being caught just before the top of the day’s second SKODA Queen of the Mountains climb at Burton Dassett Country Park.
The regrouping at the front brought 35 riders together to contest the fast run back to Royal Leamington Spa, which was marked by a flurry of attacks from a multitude of teams and riders, in particular the Canyon//SRAM squad of defending champion Kasia Niewiadoma, but no cohesive move could stay away.
Coming through the sweeping left hander into the 400-metre finishing straight alongside Jephson Gardens it was Vos who led out the sprint, but Roy and Bronzini who came past on the long run to the line. Rivera took fourth, Roxanne Fournier fifth, and Rowe top Brit in 10th.
Speaking afterwards having retained her OVO Energy Green Jersey for a second day, Team Sunweb’s Rivera said: “For sure it was not easy out there. The girls were really strong today and we had five other than over the last climb so we were just covering attacks. They are trying to make it hard for us.”
For Rivera, an accomplished stage and one-day race winner, her previous overall stage race success came in April 2016 in the USA, meaning that leading a week long UCI Women’s WorldTour event sees her move into new territory.
“It’s pretty special, I don’t see myself as a general classification rider so it’s a different mindset I have to put in my head but it is really special to be wearing it and having all the girls believing in me, but it is quite a responsibility. It’s nice to be over half way, but still anything can happen and we have to be on our toes.”
Elisa Longo Borghini picked up maximum points on the second SKODA Queen of the Mountains climb to extend her lead in the climber’s jersey to 13 points over Niewiadoma.
The weekend sees Stage Four take place in Worcestershire heading from Evesham to Worcester on Saturday (16 June), before the final day (Sunday 17 June) visits Wales, with Stage Five from Dolgellau to Colwyn Bay on the North Wales coast, via Snowdonia.
Highlights of Stage Three are on ITV4 at 8pm (Friday 15 June) with a repeat the following daytime on the same channel and available on demand via the ITV Hub. The OVO Energy Women’s Tour is a part of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, comprising 23 events around the world in 10 different countries.Ride in the wheel tracks of the world’s best and take on the challenge.
Ride in the wheel tracks of the world’s best and take on the challenge. Enter the OVO Energy Tour Ride supporting Breast Cancer Care on Sunday 1 July and ride a route inspired by Stage One of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour, starting and finishing in Southwold, Suffolk. To find out more and how to enter please click here.
Full results and standings from Stage Three of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour can be found here.