A savvy sprint sees Deignan moves into second overall and take the best British rider jersey.
Lizzie Deignan ended up behind a four-second gap in the stage one bunch sprint but quickly made up for the loss in stage two as she capitalized off an incredible leadout in a technical finale and sprinted to second place behind Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) at the Ovo Energy Women’s Tour Tuesday.
“We came to this race without a sprinter, so these first stages were always going to be a bit of a challenge,” said Deignan. “When we saw the finish today, we thought it would suit a light sprinter like me. With the best leadout, I had the best chance, and an incredible leadout like that deserves the win, but I am not quite fast enough and second is the best I could do.”
Deignan admitted in stage one that she gambled on the wrong rider to follow in the bunch sprint, so in the fast and flat circuit race of stage two, Trek-Segafredo decidedly took the race into their own hands, playing the intermediate and final sprints perfectly to move Deignan from 17th into 2nd in the overall classification.
“I thought today would be a little more aggressive, but it was actually fairly straight forward,” continued Deignan. “We knew we would go for the bonus seconds today, and because we sprinted for them, we knew the finish really well. Ina (Teutenberg, director) said in the radio ‘look girls, you were perfect in the intermediates, try it in the final,’ and so we did.
“I think this was a huge advantage against the pure sprinters who saved themselves for the finish because it was a technical final and we knew how to race it. Ellen (van Dijk) and Trixi (Worrack) did an amazing job in the leadout, I really have to thank them for that, and I started my sprint when I saw the orange bullet going in my peripheral vision,” laughed Deignan, referring to winner Marianne Vos. “Today was a huge team effort, and that is always a great way to start the first days of a stage race.”
An incredible leadout like that deserves the win, but I am not quite fast enough and second is the best I could do.
Stage two was held on a flat and fast circuit at the Kent Cyclopark, a multi-sport activity venue with a closed-road course, six kilometers of off-road trails, a BMX track, and fitness center. The women raced 25-laps of the 2.5-kilometer tarmac circuit, the first professional road race at the Cyclopark, which drew praise from Deignan:
“It’s different to have a circuit race on day two, but I finished second, so obviously I’m going to be positive,” Deignan smiled. “But honestly it adds a different element, and I think winners of stage races need to be all-rounders, so it’s great to have a race on this circuit. This is a stand-alone circuit, and it should be supported by professionals. I think it was a good idea to race here.”
The Women’s Tour heads into hillier and longer stages beginning with stage three tomorrow, and Deignan, who now sits in second place in the GC and is a former winner of the Women’s Tour, was reluctant to add any pressure onto herself:
“Honestly, I am taking this day by day. I often look at the road book the night before. I am not a stage race rider, although I have won this race somehow before, so day by day at this point.”