Lucinda Brand finishes in second place in Stage 4 and moves into the race lead with two days remaining
The fire keeps growing in the Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour. After 2nd place in Stage 1 and the win in Stage 3, a red-hot Lucinda Brand powered to 2nd place in the uphill finish of the Queen Stage and with it snagged the yellow jersey as the new race leader of the six-day race.
Stage 4 featured the short and steep one-kilometer Hankaberg climb that the peloton tackled four times, the last time to the finish line.
A breakaway again animated the stage, leaving Movistar with the responsibility to do the work in defending the race lead of Emma Norsgaard. However, Trek-Segafredo put in more than a fair share to control the lead group with Brand eyeing another win – and the yellow jersey.
“It was a hard day with quite a big breakaway that had danger riders in it for the GC. So as a team we took control, and they rode awesome. We got the break back just before we entered the final climb, and then it was all up to me,” explained Brand.
Coming into Stage 3, Brand was six seconds short of the race lead. With the breakaway contained, it was all down to who had the best legs the final time up the Hankaberg.
Lotte Kopecky (Belgium National Team) came out on top, followed by Brand and Liane Lippert (DSM), all granted the same time. Norsgaard crossed the line in 6th place, six seconds behind, giving Brand the race lead by 4 seconds over Kopecky, and the Movistar rider dropping to 3rd at eight seconds.
With a tight GC, and still two more stages, the Trek-Segafredo team will have their work cut out for them. But the way Brand has been riding, it will be a difficult fire to extinguish.
I just fought all the way, I left it all out there, but it was not just enough for the win. But I think we can be really proud. GC is extremely tight now, but we are going to fight for it, and we will show more tomorrow!
- Lucinda Brand.