Boels Dolmans Cycling Team’s Jolien D’hoore continued her strong start to this year’s OVO Energy Women’s Tour as she sprinted to victory at historic Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, on Wednesday to claim her second win in three days.
D’hoore, wearing the Breast Cancer Care points jersey, edged out Lisa Brennauer (WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling) by a narrow margin to add to Monday’s victory in Stowmarket, Suffolk. Brennaeur’s reward for the time bonuses she has accrued in this year’s race thus far is the OVO Energy green jersey of race leader.
Overnight race leader Marianne Vos was one of a number of riders forced to abandon mid-stage following a crash near Didcot. The Dutch rider required treatment to cuts on her face.
Speaking after the stage, D’hoore said, “I was hoping for a bunch sprint, it was a bit rolling the whole stage and it was quite hard in the beginning but we made it for a bunch sprint and I’m happy I could finish it off again.
“The pace was really high and I had Amy Pieters in front of me but I didn’t want to go in second position in the last corner so I let Lisa Brennauer in between and then someone started the sprint with 350 to go and I started as well, but then I realised this is still a long way to go so I went back behind Lisa again and then I started again.”
Trek Segafredo rider Anna Plichta earned the Wahooligan Combativity Award for a long solo break of just under 100 kilometres, one that saw her escape shortly after the opening SKODA Queen of the Mountains climb at Pishill above Henley-on-Thames in south Oxfordshire. She was eventually caught at Alvescot in west Oxfordshire with 41 kilometres remaining.
Brennauer’s runners up position moves her back into the lead of the race she won in 2015, saying afterwards, “I wanted to win the stage, I knew that the final would suit me; a flat finish, a long finish straight. But I did everything how I wanted to do it and I don’t think I did anything wrong it’s just Jolien is so fast and she passed me before the line and that’s how it is. She was just better today and so congrats for the stage victory.
“I think tomorrow is another good day for us as a team to step up and do good teamwork and we are ready for it and I’m excited.”
Speaking after the crash that eliminated her, 2014 race winner and overnight leader Marianne Vos said, “The speed went up in preparation for the second intermediate sprint. There was a fall before me, which I could not avoid. I fell hard on my head and, apart from a cut and some scratches, I don’t have any other injuries. Yet I went to the hospital because the cut had to be stitched. Very unfortunate, I was quite upset by it, because I was in such a good position. But even after a fall, the race continues, but this time without me.”
The OVO Energy Women’s Tour moves a short distance north to Warwickshire on Thursday 13 June for Stage Four, featuring the first hill-top finish in race history. Riders will race from Warwick to Burton Dassett Country Park, with three ascents of the 1.2 kilometre climb coming in the closing stages of the 158.9 kilometre stage.