Jolien d’Hoore wins uphill sprint in stage 2 of Aviva Women’s Tour

by Jessi Braverman


Belgium national road champion Jolien d’Hoore won the second stage of the Aviva Women’s Tour in Clacton on Thursday. The Wiggle Honda rider outsprinted de facto overall leader Lisa Brennauer (Velocio-SRAM) and Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans) in a technical uphill sprint.

“There was a lot of pressure on us and the team before the race,” said d’Hooore. “Yesterday we did a lot of work –maybe too much –and didn’t come away with the result. I’m happy I could take the win today for the team.”

Stage one winner Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) withdrew from the five-day British tour following her horrific finish line crash on Wednesday. In Armitstead’s absence, Brennauer, second on the general classification, started the day in the yellow race leader’s jersey.

With her second-place finish on stage two, Brennauer confirmed her hold on the overall lead while d’Hoore moved into second overall, one second behind Brennauer.

Attacks were aplenty during the opening hour of racing, but every attempt was neutralised until Corrina Lechner (Germany National Team) and Vera Koedooder (Bigla) joined forces up the road around the 50 kilometre mark. The duo managed to stretch out their advantage to nearly four minutes before the peloton said enough.

Team USA assumed the responsibility for the majority of the chase work. Lechner was the first to rejoin the bunch. Koedooder maintained a handful of seconds until she was overtaken by the peloton three kilometres from the finish line. By that point, the lead-out trains had already begun to ready for the sprint.

“The sprint was really hard,” said d’Hoore. “My idea was to go from the last corner full gas. In my mind, Giorgia [Bronzini] was on my wheel, and I just go full gas from the corner, but there was still 300 metres. It was pretty long and uphill with headwind, so it was hard.”

While the race to the line and the battle for the yellow jersey are the most obvious accolades to chase, there are several additional titles up for the taking. The Aviva Women’s Tour offers bonus seconds for the intermediate sprints in addition to a sprint jersey. There is also a queen of the mountain, best young rider, best British rider and most combative.

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Better known as a fast finisher, Australia’s Melissa Hoskins mixed it up in the climbing competition, challenging for points on each of the classified climbs. By stage end, she had secured enough points to pull on the polka dot queen of the mountain jersey.

“I think this is going to be a first,” said Hoskins. “Yesterday on the first climb it just happened that I went over the top first, so I got some points. After that I was equal first, but on count back, I wasn’t in the jersey, so we thought as a team objective early in the Tour we would give it a crack and have a bit of fun on the stage.”

“We will have to see how the legs feel,” Hoskins added. “Obviously our major objective is the general classification and if that means giving up the jersey than I am more happy to because yellow is better than polka dots.”

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