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With its hoards of fans, good publicity and five days of hard, exciting racing, the OVO Energy Women’s Tour of Britain is an absolute highlight on the women’s calendar. This year was no exception.
The only UCI Women’s WorldTour event in June, the peloton enjoyed a little break since the Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s Race Empowered by SRAM, riders were raring to go.
The Women’s Tour is a big target for many riders and the competition was fierce. The competition combined with the long stages, challenging terrain and poor weather made this edition of the Women’s Tour the hardest one yet, which was a treat for the fans and a test for all participants. But throughout it all, fans of all ages braved the weather and lined the streets of England everywhere the tour went.
“[Today was]one of the hardest races I’ve done in my life,” said Niewiadoma after working hard to defend her lead ahead of the final stage.
WM3 Pro Cycling’s Kasia Niewiadoma took the lead after throwing a gutsy attack on day one, soloing off the front and into the winds for a good 45 kilometres. Her courageous move and hard effort proved to be the race-defining moment. She crossed that finish line with a 1’42” lead, which would be challenged for the next four days to come. But while the runner-up general classification spots changed names several times, the Polish champ and her WM3 team successfully defended their lead day in, day out, until the crystal trophy was finally theirs.
A battle for second ensued between the Boels-Dolmans, Sunweb and Canyon-SRAM teams, and wasn’t decided until the very last, fast and furious metres of the final stage in the heart of London. In the end, it was Luxembourgian Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans) who walked away with second and two jerseys, coming out on top of the sprinter’s and the points classification.
British champ Hannah Barnes fought hard throughout the tour, netting two second-places finishes while battling for the Best British Rider honour with her younger sister, Alice. Wearing the British red-white-and-blue striped national champion’s jersey for one last race before the 2017 national championships, Hannah had an impressive ride to secure third place in the GC, while also earning a combativity award and the pink Best British Rider jersey.
“It’s definitely been the hardest [OVO Energy Women’s] tour thus far,” Hannah told CyclingTips. “I think the length of the stages caught all of us out. You could tell that there were a lot of tired legs…Sometimes long stages create negative racing, but the racing [here] has been really, really hard despite the length, so it’s been really good.”
We followed Hannah throughout the tour, and you can read up on her reports as well as each coverage for each stage, here:
- Stage 1: Doing it for Grandma
- Stage 2: So close!
- Stage 3: Crashes, chaos and disappointment
- Stage 4: GC shake-up in penultimate stage
- Stage 5: Champagne for Grandma
OVO Energy Women's Tour (2.WWT) Chesterfield → Derbyshire
Photographers were out in force to capture the action, enjoy a glimpse of the five-day tour below.