Lizzie Deignan wins OVO Energy Women’s Tour
Great Britain’s Lizzie Deignan became the first rider to win two OVO Energy Women’s Tour titles as she sealed the 2019 crown at Pembrey Country Park, Carmarthenshire, on Saturday.
The Trek Segafredo rider, who only returned to racing in late April following maternity leave, finished eighth in a reduced bunch sprint to pip Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM Racing) to the overall crown by two seconds – the smallest winning margin in race history.
Dutch rider Amy Pieters (Boels Dolmans) claimed the final stage, beating Leah Kirchmann (Team Sunweb) and Roxane Fournier (Movistar Team) to the line. Pieters placed third overall, 23 seconds behind Deignan, while her team-mate Christine Majerus finished fifth to cap a successful week for the Dutch team.
Speaking afterwards Deignan said, “It means a huge amount. I think the last time I came here I was probably one of the favourites to win the race – this time I wasn’t a favourite, so it was a different experience. It was totally a team experience.
“I won through just grit and determination. I’m away from my daughter for a reason. I’m here to do a job and I’ve got a fantastic team around me. I don’t want to let them down.
“It’s a huge honour. I’m just delighted, lost for words really. The perspective you gain from having a year out of the sport is amazing. My attitude is just about enjoying it, I’ve never had that attitude before and it’s really paying dividends. I’m in the best team in the world I feel like from a support perspective and just the women around me just lift me up.”
Deignan crossed the line in eighth position in the 33-rider front group to take victory, having doubled her overnight one-second lead thanks to a mid-race time bonus from the Eisberg Sprint at Penygroes. As well as the OVO Energy Green jersey the Trek Segafredo rider takes the Breast Cancer Care Points jersey through her consistent finishing across the six stages, and the HSBC UK British Cycling Best British Rider jersey.
The stage win for Pieters was her third in OVO Energy Women’s Tour history, being added to previous victories in Stratford-upon-Avon (2016) and Stoke-on-Trent (2017). With Majerus and double stage victor Jolien D’hoore providing the perfect lead-out, the Dutchwoman was delighted with the win.
“The plan was to try to win the stage,” said Pieters. “I think we had a good plan and a good week with the whole team, so I think we need to be happy with this.
“The girls did a really strong lead-out for me and I’m happy that I could finish it off. I felt really good today and I’m happy with that because it was a really hard week and I’m happy that the last day I was still good.”
Defending OVO Energy Women’s Tour champion Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) took the Eisberg Sprints jersey for a second year, getting into a group of 11 riders that broke away early on the Carmarthenshire route to seal the jersey at the first intermediate Eisberg sprint.
The final classification jersey went to Warwickshire summit finish winner Niewiadoma, who withstood the challenge of Majerus for a one-point advantage in the SKODA Queen of the Mountains jersey, while the aggressive riding of Sarah Roy (Mitchelton Scott) was rewarded with the Wahooligan Combativity Award.
Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “It has been our pleasure to host the Grand Finale of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour here in Carmarthenshire, just months after hosted the Grand Depart of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain in September.
“This is a unique opportunity for us to showcase our stunning landscape and scenery, which I know has provided one of the most challenging stages for the cyclists in this year’s Tour, but has taken in some of our most breath-taking mountains, valleys and of course our wonderful communities.
“Hosting major events like this is so important for Carmarthenshire, both in terms of its economy, and in sealing its growing reputation as a player on an international stage.
“I am proud of my team at Carmarthenshire County Council who have worked so hard alongside SweetSpot Group to bring the Tour to Carmarthenshire, but also the support of people and businesses who have created a fantastic atmosphere and given a warm Welsh welcome to everyone who has come to enjoy the day with us.”
Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Carmarthenshire County Council Executive Board Member for Culture Sport and Tourism, said: “The OVO Energy Women’s Tour has been a resounding success, and has been the perfect showcase of our best landscape and cycling facilities.
“As a local authority, we are proud of our significant investment in facilities and infrastructure to support the growing cycling enthusiasm that we’re working so hard to build. Today’s race started at the historic Carmarthen Velodrome, the oldest in the world, and ended at our purpose-built National Closed Road Circuit at Pembrey Country Park.
“We are particularly proud of Manon Lloyd [Drops], who is from Carmarthenshire and who started her cycling career with Towy Riders in Carmarthen. It must have been a fantastic feeling for her to compete with the best in the world on home soil and I hope she felt the strength of the crowd behind her.”
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 6 Race Top 20
1 26 PIETERS Amy 00″ DLT NED B:10″
2 3 KIRCHMANN Leah ‘ ‘ SUN CAN B:09″
3 132 FOURNIER Roxane ‘ ‘ MOV FRA B:04″
4 156 VOLLERING Demi ‘ ‘ PHV NED
5 25 MAJERUS Christine ‘ ‘ DLT LUX B:02″
6 134 GUTIERREZ RUIZ Sheyla ‘ ‘ MOV ESP
7 101 BRENNAUER Lisa ‘ ‘ WNT GER
8 121 DEIGNAN Elizabeth ‘ ‘ TFS GBR B:01″
9 112 *CAVALLI Marta ‘ ‘ VAL ITA
10 55 MANLY Alexandra ‘ ‘ MTS AUS
11 61 BANKS Elizabeth ‘ ‘ BIG GBR
12 51 ROY Sarah ‘ ‘ MTS AUS
13 66 THOMAS Leah ‘ ‘ BIG USA B:03″
14 31 NIEWIADOMA Katarzyna ‘ ‘ CSR POL
15 111 ARZUFFI Alice ‘ ‘ VAL ITA
16 135 JASINSKA Malgorzata ‘ ‘ MOV POL
17 85 *PARKINSON Abby-Mae ‘ ‘ DRP GBR
18 142 CHAPMAN Brodie ‘ ‘ TIB AUS
19 106 SANTESTEBAN GONZALEZ Ane ‘ ‘ WNT ESP
20 96 PENTON Sara ‘ ‘ TVC SWE
General Classification after Stage 6 Top 25
1 121 00″ TFS GBR 21h09’25″DEIGNAN Elizabeth
2 31 02″ CSR POL 21h09’27″NIEWIADOMA Katarzyna
3 26 23″ DLT NED 21h09’48″PIETERS Amy
4 25 49″ DLT LUX 21h10’14″MAJERUS Christine
5 156 51″ PHV NED 21h10’16″VOLLERING Demi
6 3 54″ SUN CAN 21h10’19″KIRCHMANN Leah
7 61 58″ BIG GBR 21h10’23″BANKS Elizabeth
8 66 ‘ ‘ BIG USA ‘ ‘THOMAS Leah
9 135 59″ MOV POL 21h10’24″JASINSKA Malgorzata
10 123 01’01” TFS ITA 21h10’26″LONGO BORGHINI Elisa
11 112 01’03” VAL ITA 21h10’28″* CAVALLI Marta
12 106 ‘ ‘ WNT ESP ‘ ‘SANTESTEBAN GONZALEZ Ane
13 14 01’08” CCC NED 21h10’33″MARKUS Riejanne
14 95 01’12” TVC AUS 21h10’37″NEYLAN Rachel
15 125 01’14” TFS NED 21h10’39″VAN DIJK Ellen
16 142 01’18” TIB AUS 21h10’43″CHAPMAN Brodie
17 111 01’24” VAL ITA 21h10’49″ARZUFFI Alice
18 104 01’48” WNT ITA 21h11’13″MAGNALDI Erica
19 33 02’23” CSR GBR 21h11’48″BARNES Hannah
20 101 02’32” WNT GER 21h11’57″BRENNAUER Lisa
21 4 02’50” SUN GER 21h12’15″* LIPPERT Liane
22 102 03’41” WNT NED 21h13’06″ENSING Janneke
23 53 06’21” MTS AUS 21h15’46″BROWN Grace
24 22 06’28” DLT CAN 21h15’53″CANUEL Karol-Ann
25 1 06’42” SUN USA 21h16’07″RIVERA Coryn
Stage Winner 26 PIETERS Amy Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam
Combativity award Wahooligan 66 THOMAS Leah Bigla
General Classification OVO ENERGY 121 DEIGNAN Elizabeth Trek – Segafredo
The Second OVO ENERGY 31 NIEWIADOMA Katarzyna Canyon / /Sram Racing
The Third OVO ENERGY 26 PIETERS Amy Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam
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 – SegafredoTFS
Overall Combativity Wahooligan 51 ROY Sarah Mitchelton Scott
• 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