Tuesday 11 June 2019

Cyclopark welcomes world's best riders for the Women's Tour

Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) was the winner of the 62.5km-second stage of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour yesterday, putting her into the overall lead. The race saw 96 of the world's top cyclists race in Kent for the first time, at the Mecca for cycling, the Cyclopark.

After the victory in stage one of Jolien d'Hoore, the Boels Dolmans rider automatically took the overall lead, but only by a couple of seconds from last year's winner, Coryn Rivera. Marianne Vos, the most decorated female cyclist in history, and also a previous winner of the Women's Tour was not far behind d'Hoore either.

The riders setting off for Stage 2 of the Women's Tour

Racing around the 2.5-km circuit was fast and furious, with no chance for any lasting breakaway to form, despite a gallant effort by Elena Cecchini (Canyon//SRAM Racing). Various teams contributed towards driving the high pace, notably Trek-Segafredo, Team Sunweb, Alé Cipollini, Team VIRTU Cycling, Canyon//SRAM Racing, and CCC-Liv).
Circuit map of Stage 2 of the Women's Tour
Eventually, with three laps to go, Ellen van Dijk led a well-drilled Trek-Segafredo train, to set up Lizzie Deignan for the sprint to the finish line. In the melée of various contenders hanging on, Marianne Vos managed to power past the train and take the win from Deignan and Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-SCOTT).

The peloton racing around the circuit at approximately 45km/hour

Speaking to 2wheel chick after the race a delighted Henk Vos said of his daughter’s fifth stage win at the Women’s Tour, “She [Marianne] had a problem on the road and had to change her bike when she had a flat tyre, and then to win is marvellous. We follow Marianne everywhere. I can’t find enough words to say how much we are so proud. It’s unbelievable.”
Marianne Vos wins Stage 2 of the OVO Energy Women's Tour ahead of Lizzie Deignan
Here’s how Marianne Vos recalled Stage two in the post-race conference:

"Our strategy was to stay in front as much as possibl because if you’re in the back you are doing intervals all the time so it’s better to be in front and in the race and keep that focus, but Ashleigh [Moolman-Pasio] did a great job to stay in front. I mean it’s not easy to stay in front. She had a good race and she felt comfortable, and she was there also to go with the attacks and stay in control.

"For myself, I was trying to save a little more, and the other riders were kind of delivering me to the front, so it is really good when your team mates are there in front. It really motivates you to stay there as well.

"If the bunch is doing 50 km per hour and dropping to 45 and going to 55 again there’s no option to stay away. Cecchini did a great job to try, but she’s a really good rider, and it’s so hard to stay away for a couple of laps, especially during the final when the pace was so high. On such a circuit you really need a strong breakaway with a couple of riders that can keep going.
Marianne Vos at the post-stage press conference
"There was a lot of action, in the bunch. You needed to get to the front all the time so I think from the side line it might have been a little boring, one bunch going around but in the group you were constantly trying to get a position, get to the front, stay in the front. It was actually interesting for us to do such a thing.  

"If it had rained this [race] would have been totally different. It was quite safe in the bunch I have to say. It’s a very experienced bunch, people were really good at bike handling, it’s not a really big bunch. Everybody was fighting for each centimetre, it was safe but if it’s wet….once you get into the grass then you have a big problem. Today [when on the grass] it was possible to save it and get back on the road again. That happened on nearly every corner. You didn’t see all the action, but we did!

"I had a flat tyre. I didn’t worry at all. I was like, “it happens”. Let’s change bike and see if I can get in. It happened with 11 laps to go so there was sort of plenty of time. But yeah, I’ve had less good places to have a flat tyre this year. [For example, at Paterberg, in the Tour of Flanders].

"I was quite surprised at the gap I had when I won. I saw a gap opening at 200m to go. I came from the back so I thought “okay if I don’t go now I will be late, so I will have to go and see if I can open up a gap”, and then I did, but I felt okay now the legs are going to burn so I just kept going and I saw no wheels coming, so that was of course a great feeling.

"It’s always nice to have more riders in front, and Ashleigh [Moolman-Pasio] is a great climber, so going to the next days it’s really helpful. She’s a great climber and she can do crits as well, and time trials as well. Having her in the team is very important – valuable – but not just Ashleigh. I have to say Jeanne Korevaar did a really good job today and also the other riders. So the team is going to be more important in the next days, so we are going to try our best.

"Lizzie’s [Deignan’s] form is great. No doubt. I’ve seen her in the first races coming back [after maternity leave], and of course she hasn’t won yet, but I think she’s close to her top shape and definitely she was really good in [Tour de] Yorkshire. She’s in great form, she’s always one to watch for GC and the team is strong as well. They have a very strong team. We don’t fear anyone, but Trek [-Segafredo] is one of the teams that you want to watch."

For Lizzie Deignan, who placed second in the race she was pleased with the result, considering that she had not been targeting a win in this stage. The Yorkshire-born rider said:
"On paper this is the least suited [stage] to our team. It was just about riding as a team and that’s what we did. Ellen [van Dijk] and Trixi [Worrack] did an amazing job. I really have to thank them for that."

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