“It was a pretty rough day out,” were Brown’s first words after crossing the Women's Tour stage 4 finish line with her first win in the colours of FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope since securing the national time trial title in January in Australia.
The tough race into Welshpool played into Brown’s strengths and she knew she could win. Even so, she breathed a sigh of relief to have taken that long awaited victory, and moved a step closer to her upcoming goals at the Tour de France Femmes in July.
“It’s my first win this year, and I feel like it’s been coming for a while. It’s a relief, but also really fun for the team. It’s my first win for FDJ, apart from the time trial at Nationals in January, so it’s really good,” Brown said.
Brown’s transfer from BikeExchange to FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope was one of the biggest of this season. She’s had steady growth since turning pro in 2018 and last year saw her secure two WorldTour wins at Brugge De Panne and a stage at Vuelta a Burgos Feminas. She had other outstanding performances at Tour of Flanders (3rd), the Giro d'Italia Donne mountain time trial (3rd), Olympic Games time trial (4th). However, she missed the late season races due to a shoulder injury.
Since travelling to Europe following the Australian Championships success, she’s been winding up for a big win with FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope but the closest she came was a second place at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Vuelta a Burgos Feminas offered the chance to get a bit more stage racing in her legs as she prepares to hunt for stage wins at the Tour de France Femmes next month.
Her stage victory at the Women’s Tour, where she outsprinted breakaway companions Kasia Niewiadoma and Elisa Longo Borghini, shows that she’s well on her way to reaching that target, not only in form but with confidence.
“I wasn’t too concerned [on being joined by Niewiadoma and Longo Borghini], it was actually quite good because you’re more likely to stay away if you’ve got three. Out of everyone there I think I can beat those two in a sprint, so I was quite happy about it actually. It was nice to have them in the final," Brown said.
"I think I played it all right, and I was able to come around at the end to win."
Brown leads the overall classification as the race heads into the queen stage, with the fifth day of the Women’s Tour boasting the event’s first-ever summit finish on Black Mountain. She holds four seconds over Niewiadoma and six over Longo Borghini.
“Obviously I want to be up there on the final climb [tomorrow], I think that’s what it’s going to come down to," said Brown. "I’m happy now that I’ve got a little bit of buffer and time, then if I finish with the top climbers then I can hopefully retain the jersey.”
Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*
Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets
After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59
Join now for unlimited access
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Get The Leadout Newsletter
The latest race content, interviews, features, reviews and expert buying guides, direct to your inbox!
Kirsten Frattini is the Deputy Editor of Cyclingnews, overseeing the global racing content plan.
Kirsten has a background in Kinesiology and Health Science. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's biggest races, reporting on the WorldTour, Spring Classics, Tours de France, World Championships and Olympic Games.
She began her sports journalism career with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. In 2018, Kirsten became Women's Editor – overseeing the content strategy, race coverage and growth of women's professional cycling – before becoming Deputy Editor in 2023.