Lauren Stephens (Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) won a dramatic stage 2 of the women’s Virtual Tour de France. The American fought back after being dropped on the major climb to win a sprint from a group of five with Joscelin Lowden (Drops) and Erica Magnaldi (Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team) finishing second and third.
The win saw Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank move into the leader’s jersey with four more stages remaining. Canyon-SRAM lead the Green jersey competition.
“I wasn’t say that I was fully confident, a sprint is always a gamble,” Stephens told Cyclingnews from her home.
“I’ve done lots of racing on Zwift and a group of five is a little easier to manage than a bigger group. My tactic on the climb was to stay as far forward as possible and hope for the best. I came over the top in a group of four and that made us faster than the group ahead.”
The 29.5km stage got off to a frantic start with the women’s peloton hurtling towards the main climb. Drops came into the stage with the yellow jersey with Elise Marie Olsen wearing the jersey. However, Olsen was one of the early casualties as the peloton was reduced to less than 30 riders.
Ella Harris set a furious pace early on as the leader hit the lower slopes of the main climb with the gradient fluctuating throughout and with pitches of over 10 per cent. Magnaldi took over soon after, and after being prominent on stage 1, she was determined to stretch the field and set her own pace. Lowden and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig moved to the front in response to Magnaldi’s injection of pace with rider after rider unable to keep up.
Over the top of the climb and the Magnaldi took maximum points ahead of Uttrup Ludwig with Harris managing to make contact as the leaders turned left and began the grinding slog up to the radio tower. The trio were too strong for the remnants of the field and with 14km to go the trio had established an 11-second lead over the chase.
Kristen Faulkner managed to bridge over and was then joined by her teammate Stephens with 4km to go after a fast descent onto the flatter roads of Watopia. Uttrup Ludwig used a power-up with 2.6km to go as she tried to break free before the inevitable sprint but the Danish climber was caught a few hundred meters later.
In the sprint, Stephens was the freshest and took the stage, also helping secure the yellow jersey. She will miss stage 3 of the race but return to race the final three stages of the women’s Virtual Tour de France.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Lauren Stephens (USA) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank||0:47:32|
|2||Joscelin Lowden (GBr) Drops|
|3||Enrica Magnaldi (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT|
|4||Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|5||Kristen Faulkner (USA) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank|
|6||Pauliena Rooijakkers (Ned) CCC-Liv||0:00:15|
|7||Sarah Gigante (Aus) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank|
|8||Ella Harris (NZl) Canyon-SRAM|
|9||Anna Henderson (GBr) Team Sunweb|
|10||Krista Doebel-Hickok (USA) Rally Cycling|
|1||Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank|
|1||Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank|
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