Grace Brown wins in Welshpool on stage four of The Women’s Tour, takes overall lead

Australian bests Elisa Longo Borghini and Kasia Niewiadoma in three-up sprint and moves into overall lead.

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It was a case of Team DSM vs a strong ten-rider breakaway on stage four of The Women’s Tour as the race crossed the border from England to Wales on Thursday. 

The rain-soaked day started aggressively with multiple attacks from the early stages of the race with Teuntje Beekhuis (Team Jumbo-Visma) getting a gap with 131km to go in yet another solo breakaway. 

A few riders did not start the day including Chantal van den Broek Blaak (Team SD Worx), and Marie Le Net (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) while Marlen Reusser, in another blow to Team SD Worx, abandoned mid-race due to injuries sustained in a crash on Wednesday’s stage. 

With 117km to go, Mikayla Harvey (Canyon//SRAM) joined Beekhuis with Elena Cecchini (Team SD Worx) and Maaike Boogard (UAE Team ADQ) also bridging. The quartet managed to gain a gap of over two minutes but were eventually caught by the peloton. 

It was the counter to that move which created the elite 10-rider breakaway of Grace Brown (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope), Alexandra Manly and Kristen Faulkner of Team BikeExchange, Ellen van Dijk and Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo), Kasia Niewiadoma and Elise Chabbey (Canyon//SRAM), Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (Team SD Worx), Veronica Ewers (EF Education First Tibco-SVB), and Riejanne Markus (Team Jumbo-Visma), who went with 50km to go. 

Team DSM – with race leader Lorena Wiebes still in the peloton – and Movistar missed the move and the two teams began to chase. The gap never went above a minute but despite the collective efforts of a well-organised Team DSM, with Pffeifer Georgi rarely leaving the front of the peloton, the move stayed away.

With just over 4km to go, riders began attacking the breakaway with Grace Brown first to make a move. At first, the Australian got away on her own but she was soon joined by Niewiadoma and Longo Borghini who worked together to bridge across. With the group behind splintered and lacking cohesion, the trio stayed away until the finish where Brown was the first to launch her sprint, holding off her rivals all the way to the line. Niewiadoma pipped Longo Borghini for second and the Italian national champion took third.

“It was a pretty tough day out, we had lots of climbing up and down the road,” said Brown after the race.

“On the first QOM of the day the race split up and there was a group of around 12 or so in front and I was amongst that and we continued like that until the end basically…we didn’t know quite if we would make it to the end but in the last 5km I decided to attack. At first, I was solo but then Elisa Longo Borghini and Kasia Niewiadoma joined me and we rode to the line and then had a little sprint and I was lucky enough to win.”

“I knew that on paper I had a better sprint than the other two but coming into the final 500m I was left on the front which is never the best place to be for a sprint, especially when its a small group, but I think I played it alright and I was able to come around in the end to win.”

Brown’s victory marked her first European win in FDJ colours: “It’s my first win this year and I feel like it’s been coming for a while now and it’s a relief and also really fun for the team, it’s my first win for FDJ apart from a time trial at nationals in January so it’s really good,” she said.

“I think just being in the break all day, we were on the pedals the whole time, we didn’t have any respite the whole day.”

The win moves Brown into the overall lead, four seconds ahead of Niewiadoma and six ahead of Longo Borghini going into Friday’s queen stage, which will feature a summit finish on the 5km Black Mountain climb.

Despite losing the GC lead, Lorena Wiebes retained the points jersey with an 11-point lead over Brown’s teammate Clara Copponi. Elise Chabbey overtook Christine Majerus (SD Worx) in the QOM classification, now leading by 13 points.

Women's Tour (2.WWT) Wrexham → Welshpool

BROWN Grace
1
BROWN Grace FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
2
NIEWIADOMA Katarzyna Canyon//SRAM Racing
3
LONGO BORGHINI Elisa Trek - Segafredo
4
MARKUS Riejanne Team Jumbo-Visma
5
CHABBEY Elise Canyon//SRAM Racing
6
MANLY Alexandra Team BikeExchange - Jayco
7
MOOLMAN Ashleigh Team SD Worx
8
FAULKNER Kristen Team BikeExchange - Jayco
9
EWERS Veronica EF Education-TIBCO-SVB
10
WIEBES Lorena Team DSM

BROWN Grace

WIEBES Lorena

CHABBEY Elise

Canyon//SRAM Racing

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