Rivera: This win belongs to the whole team

Lepistö returns to winning ways after injury

Two riders could celebrate victories in Colwyn Bay as the OVO Energy Women's Tour came to an end on Sunday. Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) defended her green jersey on stage 5 through Snowdonia, and Lotta Lepistö (Cervélo-Bigla) did one better than on Saturday's stage 4 when she won the seaside sprint.

After a spring season hampered by illness and injury, the Finnish sprinter was relieved to stand on the top step of the podium.

"Finally a win, now the pressure is off my shoulders," Lepistö said. "It's a big thing to have a win in this race. I was struggling on the first stages but on stage 3 my legs started opening up, and that gave me confidence."

On a stage passing by some of Wales' highest mountains, Lepistö had to work for her victory.

"There were two climbs early in the race, and I was in the second group when it split, but it came back together," she said. "The pace was steady on the longer climb so I survived it. I was worried about a late attack, but a headwind made that difficult. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and Clara Koppenburg made sure I wasn't boxed in coming to the line. I opened my sprint with 100 metres to go and put the hammer down."

Rivera was a confident race leader on the final stage, defending her green jersey with aplomb.

"Being in the leader's jersey is all about being calm and in control," Rivera said. "The girls and I did that really well throughout the whole week. Today was a difficult stage, but we set the pace on the climbs and were in a good position all day. There were a few attacks but eventually they came back."

Normally seen as a sprinter and one-day racer, winning a stage race is a rare occurrence for Rivera. The 25-year-old thanked her team that supported her well throughout the race.

"This is something special for me," she said. "I am really proud of the work that I and the team and staff have put in this week. We played to our strengths with the intermediate sprints. We knew that the race would come down to seconds so we put our energy in that at the beginning of the race and this proved to be the difference at the end. The jersey belongs to the whole team."

Italian champion Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5) was not to be found in her usual tricolour jersey this week as she took the black mountain jersey after stage 1 and defended it throughout the race. On stage 5, Longo Borghini had a scare when she crashed early in the race and had to spend some time chasing back on, but her team was there for her.

"I dedicate this jersey to my teammates and the staff, because they helped me a lot throughout this week and especially today after my crash," Longo Borghini said. "They all waited for me. Even Kirsten Wild sacrificed her sprint a bit. It gives me a boost of confidence after a very strange spring. Now I'm looking forward to the nationals and the Giro Rosa."

Danielle Rowe (WaowDeals) won the blue jersey for the best British rider with her third place overall. Her teammate Marianne Vos also had a successful race as overall runner-up and winner of the points classification. Rowe found the final stage very hard after her crash on stage 4, but she made it through the day.

"I was suffering when riding out of the saddle so I just tried to conserve energy," Rowe said. "I had my doubts that I would get over the two climbs, but my teammates believed in me. Marianne went for the intermediate sprint to help defend my third place from the two Boels Dolmans girls who were just three seconds behind me. It's been a really special week."

The UCI Women's WorldTour continues with the Giro Rosa, 6-15 July.

 

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