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Women’s Tour: Lorena Wiebes wins stage 3 in Gloucester

Dutch rider conquers climbs to take second win ahead of Alex Manly and Coryn Labecki

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Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) survived a hilly day at the Women’s Tour to sprint to victory on stage 3, her second consecutive win in the race.

Alex Manly (BikeExhange-Jayco) took second, and Coryn Labecki (Jumbo-Visma) rounded out the podium.

After being distanced on the final climb of the day, Wiebes and her teammates were able to rejoin the elite leading group and bring the race back together for a reduced bunch sprint.

Also read: The fastest woman on two wheels: Get to know Lorena Wiebes

Wiebes’ back-to-back wins put her in the overall race lead, with an advantage of 13 seconds over second and third Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ) and Manly. Leader at the start of the day, Clara Copponi lost over three minutes after being dropped on the climbs.

Wiebes also leads the points classification, whilst Maike van der Duin (Le Col-Wahoo) and Christine Majerus retain their intermediate sprints and Queen of the Mountains jerseys respectively.

How it happened

After two flat, nailed-on sprint stages Monday and Tuesday, the 95-rider peloton lined up for a slightly tougher parcours on stage 3. Starting in Tewkesbury, the stage took in a hilly route across Gloucestershire before a flat 20km run to the finish in Gloucester.

Owing to the harder day, stage 3 looked like a good opportunity for the breakaway, but just one attack stuck in the opening kilometers. Riejanne Markus (Jumbo-Visma) found herself the sole member of the day’s early move, getting away with no one following her.

Chloe Hosking (Trek-Segafredo) briefly attempted to bridge to the Dutch rider, but soon sat up to rejoin the peloton. After attacking in the first 10km of the race, Markus steadily built up her advantage and had a one-minute lead by the 40km mark.

Back in the peloton, there were plenty of attacks as teams like Trek-Segafredo and Liv Racing Xstra upped the pace and strung out the bunch. As a result, the peloton came within 15 seconds of Markus at one point. Markus still led on the first categorized climb at Worrall Hill, but a high pace set by Marlen Reusser (SD Worx) began to split the peloton, putting race leader Clara Copponi (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope) in difficulty.

Markus took maximum points atop the climb, but climber’s jersey wearer Christine Majerus (SD Worx) and Gladys Verhulst (Le Col-Wahoo) attacked from the bunch to take second and third respectively. The duo joined Markus on the descent, and the leaders had an advantage of 50 seconds over the peloton.

Several riders tried to bridge across to the leading group but were reeled back in by the chasing bunch before they could close the gap. The peloton calmed slightly following the attacks but the likes of Canyon-SRAM and Team DSM began to amass at the front to chase down the leaders before the finale.

As the road started to rise towards the second climb at Speech House, Markus and Majerus distanced Verhulst. The chasing peloton quickly caught Verhulst as Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (SD Worx) and Elise Chabbey (Canyon-SRAM) led the charge up the climb, bringing the leaders’ advantage to under 20 seconds.

They survived over the top of the climb, but an uncategorized slope soon after saw them caught as Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) launched an acceleration from the bunch.

Niewiadoma’s move forced an elite selection over the climb, which included Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo), Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Veronica Ewers (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB), Grace Brown (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope) and Alexandra Manly (BikeExchange-Jayco).

Stage 2 winner Wiebes and race leader Copponi were notably missing from the selection. Though a strong, 16-rider group, the leaders had only a small advantage over the second group on the road at the bottom of the descent. With 17km to go, Elise Chabbey won the second intermediate sprint to take points and bonus seconds.

The flat run-in to the finish didn’t stop the attacks from coming, with the BikeExchange-Jayco duo of Manly and Kristen Faulkner making several attempts to get away. With a lack of cohesion in the leading group, the chasers — including Wiebes — were able to make contact with the leading group inside the last 10km.

The attacks continued after the regrouping, but nothing stuck. Going into the final 5km, BikeExchange-Jayco led the pack, whilst Team DSM’s Megan Jastrab and Pfeiffer Georgi moved into position to support Wiebes.

Despite the best efforts of BikeExchange-Jayco, Pfeiffer Georgi took control of the sprint in the final kilometer and delivered the perfect lead-out for Lorena Wiebes. The Dutch rider launched her sprint in the final 200m and powered away from the field, winning by two bike lengths ahead of Manly and Labecki.

Tomorrow’s stage is another tough day out for the peloton, with 2,108m of elevation to be tackled on the 145km route between Wrexham and Welshpool in North Wales.

Results will be available once stage has completed.

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