Derbyshire’s Stage 3 of the 2016 Aviva Women’s Tour proved to be the turning point of a fabulous race as British rider Lizzie Armitstead took the day’s honours as well as the overall leader’s jersey.
Armitstead, of the Boels Dolmans team, went on to hold the overall race lead and be crowned overall race winner yesterday, Sunday, June 19, after Stage 5 between Northampton and Kettering following five tough days across England between June 15 and June 19.
During the race’s foray into Derbyshire on Friday, June 17, Armitstead won a sprint finish along Market Place, Chesterfield, after completing the 109.6km stage from Ashbourne via Buxton and Matlock.
The British Boels Dolmans team rider was also awarded the Yellow Jersey as race leader and was also awarded the Adnams Best British Rider jersey.
She said: “Going into this our plan was that I would jump across on a certain climb. We knew Ashleigh Moolman (Pasio) will be aggressive and she’s got a kick and we expected her to launch an attack but I had the perfect lead-out from Elena (Van Dijk) and Christine (Marjerus).
“I didn’t follow the attack initially because I knew I would blow up. People’s advice was that this was along steep climb and it was a slog to get to the break away and when I arrived Chantelle (Blaak) did some work and then I worked to bring the girls in the race back.”
The Derbyshire Stage 3 race split about an hour before it reached the finish with 11 riders pulling away in a break which was three minutes from the peloton but Armitstead won with a fantastic sprint over the cobbles in Chesterfield leaving the main group some distance back.
Much was made of the steep Bank Road, at Matlock, which may have proved another key turning point for the race.
Moolman Pasio, of Cervelo Biglia Pro Cycling, finished second and Elisa Longo Borghini, of Wiggle HIGH5, took third place during the Derbyshire Stage 3. The Queen of the Mountains in Derbyshire went to Katie Hall, of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling, and the sprinters’ Points Jersey went to Marianne Vos, of Rabo Liv, which they both held until the overall finish.
Stage 4, on Saturday, June 18, from Nottingham to Stoke-on-Trent including southern Derbyshire and the Peak District, was won by Vos but Armitstead managed to extend her overall lead in the General Classification.
Armitstead clinched overall victory after Stage 5 from Northampton to Kettering as she finished safely in the bunch in 14th position.
Moolman-Pasio finished second overall just 11 seconds behind Armitstead with Borghini a further two seconds behind in third spot.
Armitstead also won the Adnams Best British Rider Jersey as the highest placed Brit.
The overall victory means Armitstead moved up to second place in the general standings of the UCI Women’s WorldTour series.
Armitstead described her team’s performance as fantastic and said she was relieved to have been able to win the race for them.
She also stated that as a British athlete she felt lucky to be a part of a country that loves cycling.
The Best Young Rider Jersey went to Floortje Mackaij, of Team Liv Plantur. Emilia Fahlin, of Ale Cipollini, won the overall combativity award while Wiggle HIGH5 beat Boels Dolmans to the team classification title.