Lorena Wiebes poised to take Simac Ladies Tour overall after successful time trial on penultimate stage

‘She is climbing like a monkey,’ says main opponent Audrey Cordon-Ragot ahead of final stage.

Photo: Getty Images

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Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) is one stage away from winning the Simac Ladies Tour after successfully defending her lead on stage 5’s time trial.

The Dutch sprinter finished fifth on the stage, just 21 seconds down on winner Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Trek-Segafredo) to hold onto the lead by six seconds.

“It was a hard TT and I’m happy to hold onto the GC lead,” said Wiebes at the finish. “The roads were really familiar to me because most of them are all training roads that we do from the Keep Challenging Center [Team DSM’s training facility] so that helped. I’m happy with the performance and am looking forward to tomorrow!”

Also read:  Simac Ladies Tour stage 5: Audrey Cordon-Ragot blasts to time trial victory

Though not often pegged as a time trialist, Wiebes has impressed in the discipline before, most notably finishing fourth at the Baloise Ladies Tour’s 15.6km TT in July.

After finishing second on Friday’s hillier stage around Limburg, Wiebes has shown her all-round form this week, and looks well-placed to take overall victory in this race.

However, with only a six second deficit to make up and a maximum of 16 bonus seconds available on tomorrow’s stage, second-placed Audrey Cordon-Ragot could overhaul Wiebes on Sunday.

The small but repetitive climbs on the stage 6 course offer chances to take time, but the French rider remains realistic about her chances.

“I know it’s going to be really hard to beat Lorena,” Cordon-Ragot said after stage 5. “She’s been outstanding the last couple of months, she’s been really really good. On the Tour [de France Femmes] she was outstanding and then afterwards as well.

“She’s climbing like a monkey as well. She knows how to do everything. It won’t be a shame to finish second behind her because I know she is really strong.”

Though Saturday was its first stage win, Trek-Segafredo has been active all week, and is looking at one last chance to be aggressive on stage 6.

“[The chance] is there, but we need to make the best of it. We have a small, powerful team in Trek and we’re gonna try everything to beat her, but it’s going to be really hard. I need also to be objective, it’s gonna be hard.”

Overall victory at the Simac Ladies Tour would be Wiebes’ second stage race win of the season, after winning all three stages and the GC at the RideLondon Classique in May.

She has so far won two stages this week and finished second on two, after helping teammate Charlotte Kool to victory on stage 3.

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