Lizzie Deignan takes OVO Energy Women’s Tour lead in Wales
Britain’s Lizzie Deignan claimed her first victory since returning from maternity leave in Friday’s fifth OVO Energy Women’s Tour stage in Builth Wells, Powys, to move into the race lead with just one stage remaining.
Deignan, the race’s 2016 champion, out-sprinted Thursday’s stage victor Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM Racing) and her Trek-Segafredo team-mate Elisa Longo Borghini in the Royal Welsh Showground after the trio broke clear on the day’s final SKODA Queen of the Mountains climb of Eypnt with approximately 22 kilometres remaining.
“I can’t quite really describe it; it was probably the nicest win I’ve had in a very long time. I really savoured it and really enjoyed it and I will do for a long time,” said Deignan on taking her first win in 657 days.
The Yorkshire rider leads Niewiadoma by just one second going into Saturday’s finale in Carmarthenshire, with Boels Dolmans rider Amy Pieters a further 31 seconds in arrears. In addition to retaining her lead in the HSBC UK | British Cycling Best British Rider jersey, Deignan also moves to the top of the standings in the Breast Cancer Care points jersey.
Niewiadoma’s efforts on the climbs see her take the lead in the SKODA Queen of the Mountains jersey, while 2018 overall champion Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) retains the Eisberg sprints jersey.
Overnight race leader Liane Lippert (Team Sunweb) finished 22nd, losing two minutes and 19 seconds to fall away in the overall classification and lose her OVO Energy green jersey.
The German had been in the main pack featuring all of the general classification contenders approaching the final SKODA Queen of the Mountains climb of Epynt, before the race was sparked into life by the aggressive riding of Trek-Segafredo duo Deignan and Longo Borghini.
That saw the final two riders from the day’s breakaway, Erica Magnaldi (WNT – Rotor Pro Cycling) and Amalie Dideriksen (Boels Dolmans), reeled in and the chasing pack splintered, with just 20 riders reaching the Royal Welsh Showground within two minutes of Deignan.
“It was instinctive,” said Deignan on her attack. “It wasn’t the plan but I kept looking over at Lisa [teammate Longo Borghini] and noticed she was looking back at me and at one moment I just thought go on then we’ll give it a try. I went and Kasia [Niewiadoma] took over then. Her takeover was much stronger than my initial attack and I kind of survived with them two over the top and we worked together then until the finish.”
First over the summit of the Epynt climb moved Niewiadoma into the SKODA Queen of the Mountains climb, with a one-point advantage over previous incumbent Christine Majerus (Boels Dolmans).
“Hannah Barnes was pacing pretty hard from the bottom of the climb” said Niewiadoma. “It was funny because when I wanted to attack, then Lizzie went, so we kind of went at the same time. We continued and at the top of the climb there were three of us: Elisa [Longo Borghini], Lizzie and myself. From then on we tried to go full gas.
“Tomorrow is going to be the final battle. I’m actually pretty excited and curious to see how it’s going to be because of course Trek has a strong team and they’re going to control the race from the start. Although there are so many teams eager to fight and split the race, we’ll see.”
Stage five marked the first of two days in Wales for the OVO Energy Women’s Tour, with Lord Elis-Thomas, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism commenting: “We’re delighted that we’ve been able to host the OVO Energy Women’s Tour again this year and that we’ve been able to see some of the world’s best female road cyclists compete across our stunning landscapes. Two of the six stages will have been hosted in Wales – here in Powys today and the final stage in Carmarthenshire tomorrow. As ever, cyclists are guaranteed a warm and enthusiastic welcome from fans in Wales who are always keen to see them compete at this world class level. Congratulations to Lizzie Deignan – Llongyfarchiadau!”
Having attracted thousands of spectators to the 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain Grand Depart, world-class cycling will return to Carmarthenshire this June when the finale of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour takes place exclusively within the county.
The world’s best riders will tackle a 125.9-kilometre (79-mile) stage between Carmarthen and Pembrey Country Park on day six of Britain’s most prestigious women’s cycle race (Saturday 15 June).
In a first for the Women’s Tour, the field of Olympic, world and national champions will notably complete a lap of the Carmarthen Velodrome as part of the stage’s ceremonial start, as well as taking in part of Pembrey’s new, closed-road cycle circuit on the approach to the finish line.
Once more the OVO Energy Women’s Tour will offer prize money parity with the men’s Tour of Britain, thanks to award winning independent energy supplier OVO Energy, the title sponsors for a third edition of the race.
Words by Sweetspot, Images by Chris Maher
Stage Winner 121 DEIGNAN Elizabeth Trek – Segafredo
Combativity award Wahooligan 24 DIDERIKSEN Amalie Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam
General Classification OVO ENERGY 121 DEIGNAN Elizabeth Trek – Segafredo
Points BREAST CANCER CARE 121 DEIGNAN Elizabeth Trek – Segafredo
Queen of the Mountains SKODA 31 NIEWIADOMA Katarzyna Canyon / /Sram Racing
Sprints EISBERG 1 RIVERA Coryn Team Sunweb
Best British HSBC UK British Cycling 121 DEIGNAN Elizabeth Trek – Segafredo
Best Team OVO ENERGY Trek – Segafredo
Stage 5 Top 20
1 121 DEIGNAN Elizabeth 00″ TFS GBR B:10″
2 31 NIEWIADOMA Katarzyna ‘ ‘ CSR POL B:06″
3 123 LONGO BORGHINI Elisa 02″ TFS ITA B:04″
4 3 KIRCHMANN Leah 17″ SUN CAN
5 25 MAJERUS Christine ‘ ‘ DLT LUX
6 26 PIETERS Amy 19″ DLT NED B:03″
7 125 VAN DIJK Ellen ‘ ‘ TFS NED
8 61 BANKS Elizabeth ‘ ‘ BIG GBR
9 106 SANTESTEBAN GONZALEZ Ane ‘ ‘ WNT ESP
10 112 *CAVALLI Marta ‘ ‘ VAL ITA
11 156 VOLLERING Demi ‘ ‘ PHV NED
12 135 JASINSKA Malgorzata ‘ ‘ MOV POL
13 111 ARZUFFI Alice 22″ VAL ITA
14 14 MARKUS Riejanne ‘ ‘ CCC NED
15 142 CHAPMAN Brodie ‘ ‘ TIB AUS
16 66 THOMAS Leah ‘ ‘ BIG USA
17 95 NEYLAN Rachel ‘ ‘ TVC AUS
18 33 BARNES Hannah ‘ ‘ CSR GBR
19 104 MAGNALDI Erica 35″ WNT ITA B:03″
20 22 CANUEL Karol-Ann 39″ DLT CAN
GC after Stage 5
1 121 00″ TFS GBR 17h42’24″DEIGNAN Elizabeth
2 31 01″ CSR POL 17h42’25″NIEWIADOMA Katarzyna
3 26 32″ DLT NED 17h42’56″PIETERS Amy
4 156 50″ PHV NED 17h43’14″VOLLERING Demi
5 25 ‘ ‘ DLT LUX ‘ ‘MAJERUS Christine
6 61 57″ BIG GBR 17h43’21″BANKS Elizabeth
7 135 58″ MOV POL 17h43’22″JASINSKA Malgorzata
8 123 01’00” TFS ITA 17h43’24″LONGO BORGHINI Elisa
9 66 ‘ ‘ BIG USA ‘ ‘THOMAS Leah
10 3 01’02” SUN CAN 17h43’26″KIRCHMANN Leah
• Stage One, Monday 10 June, Beccles to Stowmarket, 157.6km
• Stage Two, Tuesday 11 June, the Kent Cyclopark Stage, 62.5km
• Stage Three, Wednesday 12 June, Henley-on-Thames to Blenheim Palace, 145.1km
• Stage Four, Thursday 13 June, Warwick to Burton Dassett Country Park, 158.9km
• Stage Five, Friday 14 June, Llandrindod Wells to Builth Wells, 140km
• Stage Six, Saturday 15 June, Carmarthen to Pembrey Country Park, 125.9km