Elise Chabbey (Canyon-SRAM) started stage 5 of The Women’s Tour in the green QOM jersey that she had taken over from Christine Majerus (Team SD Worx) the previous day. The classification was not decided yet, but the 29-year-old Swiss climber worked hard on the stage’s first two classified climbs to defend her lead.
Having finished second on Pontyates Hill and Crwbin climbs Friday, Chabbey’s lead in the QOM classification is now insurmountable with only two third-category climbs left on the final stage.
“It’s nice to be sure that I’ll go home with the jersey. I got some good points on the first two climbs so I was sure, then I could focus on the GC for Kasia [Niewiadoma]. The last climb was super hard, and we did what we could, so we can be happy,” Chabbey told Cyclingnews.
Despite having won the QOM jersey in the 2021 Women’s Tour, defending it was not something Chabbey had in mind from the start of the race.
“I was there in the first two stages. It was not really hilly. But I thought that in the next two stages, I can be there for sure. When it’s hillier with more climbing, I’m better, so I knew I could have some good points there.”
Letting Majerus and Gladys Verhulst (Le Col-Wahoo) fight for the points on the first two stages, Chabbey took points where she could. She then went all-in on stage 3, collecting nine points by leading the peloton over both QOMs behind various breakaways and getting even on points with Majerus, who kept the jersey only because she had won more QOM sprints.
On the even hillier stage 4, Chabbey joined an attack on the first QOM and led the break over the second QOM, taking the green jersey off Majerus and enjoying a 14-point lead ahead of the queen stage with three first-category climbs.
Majerus had a plan and attacked very early on the stage, but Chabbey managed to bridge to her on the first classified climb and neutralise her attack.
She tried to go in the breakaway really early to chase the points, so we had to chase a bit,” Chabbey said about the Luxembourgish champion’s attack. “Then I had to jump on the summit, which was quite an effort, but it was nice to be sure that I have it."
Chabbey then led the peloton over the second QOM, making it mathematically impossible for Majerus to leapfrog her. In the final, the Swiss climber worked for Niewiadoma who finished the stage as runner-up; Chabbey herself was 13th on the line and is now sixth overall.
Since she only has to finish stage 6 to take home the green jersey, Chabbey and the rest of the Canyon-SRAM team can focus on setting up Niewiadoma for the two intermediate sprint as the Pole is only two seconds behind yellow jersey Grace Brown (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) and stage 5 winner Longo Borghini.
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