Linda Villumsen rounded out Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s dominance at the 2013 Route de France by soloing to the overall victory on the final stage of the race. The win marked Wiggle’s seventh stage win in a row after Giorgia Bronzini had claimed the first six stages of the race in unprecedented fashion. Only Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) produced anything of a challenge having won the opening prologue.
“It’s been really hard because the courses haven’t been that challenging, really,” Villumsen said at the finish, having won by nearly six minutes from the chase group that included Johansson (Orica-AIS).
“Everyone’s been trying for a short while, but it’s been a really fast race and hard to get away for any team. Today it was just that bit harder, and that made the difference.”
Villumsen’s attack came on the toughest part of the stage, with the first seriously hard climb of the race.
“It was really hard before that as well,” she explained. “We had a few climbs, but that was the steepest one of the day, and when [Stevens] initially attacked I didn’t think I could do that speed. But I looked around and all the others were a bit tired, so I tried to bridge to her and it worked out. Then I just took the downhill at my own speed, and I was alone at the bottom of it.”
The win marks Villumsen’s second overall title in La Route de France, having taken the crown in 2006.
“Finally a different person won!” said Wiggle Honda’s directeur sportif Simon Cope. “We knew that this steep climb was coming, and we knew that Stevens would have a go, and she did. Linda went across to her, and then had a little bit of a dig on the descent, because it was technical. So she dropped her on the descent for 40 seconds, and just kept going.”