Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-Scott) took her team's second stage win in three days during stage 3 at the OVO Energy Women's Tour on Friday after Jolien D'hoore's victory on stage 1. It was Roy's second Women's Tour stage win in as many years, and the Australian admitted to being emotional right after the race.
"I was a little bit overwhelmed at the finish there and had a few tears," Roy said. "I'm just so thankful for that opportunity and what the girls did for me today. I really didn't expect this today – as always the team was amazing. Alex [Manly], Georgia [Williams] and Gracie [Elvin] were all with me in that leading group and did a great job of shutting moves down. Then Alex produced a super strong effort to get me into a perfect position for the sprint."
Stage 1 winner D'hoore had lost contact with the first peloton, but the Belgian champion still had a hand in Roy's victory. Knowing the final in Royal Leamington Spa from last year, D'hoore told her teammate how to position herself for the sprint. "Jolien was in the second group behind us, she came in on the radio before we hit the final and told me to get on third wheel before the last corner. I focused on that, her coaching really helped today."
Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) kept the green leader's jersey on her shoulders after taking bonus seconds at the intermediate sprints and finishing fourth in the sprint. She thanked her team for controlling the race in the final and closing down attacks. "It was not easy out there. The other teams are trying to make it hard for us. The girls were really strong today and we had five over the last climb so we were just covering attacks."
Though she can get over some hills, Rivera is normally seen as a sprinter, and she admitted that racing for the overall win in a stage race is an unusual situation for her. "I don't see myself as a general classification rider so it's a different mindset I have to put in my head. It is really special to wear it and have all the girls to believe in me, but also quite a responsibility. Anything can happen in the coming days and we have to stay on our toes."
Roy ended her interview with words of praise for the race organisation, especially their cooperation with Breast Cancer Care. Every rider receives a pink ribbon with a personal message written by a breast cancer patient, and Roy said that this meant a lot to her.
"The whole event is just awesome. Great organisation, big crowds, they involve the communities and the school kids. And they are working with Breast Cancer Care. I'm still wearing my ribbon from Liz who wrote me a little message, and I do actually think about her and the message that she's written on the ribbon. I hope that she is watching, and all the other women fighting that awful disease are proud and can take something from this."
The OVO Energy Women's Tour continues on Saturday with stage 4 from Evesham to Worcester.
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Lukas Knöfler started working in cycling communications in 2013 and has seen the inside of the scene from many angles. Having worked as press officer for teams and races and written for several online and print publications, he has been Cyclingnews’ Women’s WorldTour correspondent since 2018.