On a day that saw the peloton battered by hail, rain and blustering winds, it was always going to take a special ride to tame the difficult conditions at the Women's Tour de Yorkshire. Step forward Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv), who once again showed her class with a sumptuous ride through the Yorkshire Dales to take both the second stage and the overall honours.
“I have to watch it back to see what happened because there were so many things that happened all day,” Vos told Cyclingnews and the rest of the media as they huddled together on the picturesque Scarborough seafront.
A few hours earlier, Vos had shown her experience before stamping her authority on the race with a powerful attack and later well-timed sprint to take the win ahead of Mavi Garcia (Movistar) and Soraya Paladin (Ale Cipollini).
The 31-year-old watched on as several riders burnt all their matches with several attacks in the middle of the stage, before latching onto an attack from Paladin on the final climb of the Côte de Ugglebarnaby, 30km from the finish. The pair caught the lone leader Garcia and, aside from an attack of her own with 28km to go, Vos collaborated with her two companions as the forlorn chase group began to fragment.
“There were strong winds and I had to stay at the front," said Vos. "There were a lot of attacks and it was a strong group that went earlier in the race when Anna [van der Breggen] went solo. That’s a dangerous attack but then we came back, there were more attacks, and over the last two climbs we had gaps and on the final climb I could follow Paladin and in the final there were three of us.”
In the finale there was little doubt that Vos would take the win. Garcia had been on the attack for almost 60km and Paladin wilted in comparison to the three-time world champion as Vos opened her acceleration towards the line.
“It was a crazy day. There were a lot of climbs and many attacks. We had to endure a lot, and I actually don’t know how I ended up in the front in the end. I was trying to go with the good moves, and when I went with Paladin to the leader Garcia we knew that we had a chance if we just kept going. It’s a great win.”
CCC-Liv has struggled for wins this season, with Vos’ earlier triumph in the Trofeo Alfredo Binda and Ashleigh Moolman Pasio’s national road race win their only victories since the start of the campaign before today.
Vos’ stage and GC title in Yorkshire has doubled the team’s tally and closes out their spring in fine fashion.
“It’s nice to get the win. We had a good spring at CCC but at some moments it didn’t turn our way. Now to get this win it’s a fantastic way to end the spring.
“Of course I’m very happy to win. The spring has been good, and I was happy with Amstel, was fourth in Flèche and just not there in Liège. So I’m very happy to end the spring with this win. I just had to focus on what I had to do in the sprint.”