Mitchelton-SCOTT women finished outside the top-10 today at GP Plouay Lorient Agglo despite a big effort from world champion Annemiek van Vleuten and Grace Brown in a select chasing group, that fell victim to two successful escapees.
Following significant splits in the peloton, Van Vleuten and Brown were present amongst a select group of chaser in the final 30km, but the race played in to the hands of two opportunistic escapees, Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) and Lizzie Banks (Equipe Paule Ka), who held off the chase, with Deignan claiming the WorldTour victory.
The riders were welcomed by grey skies that threatened to rain at the start line and shortly after setting off for 101km, the rain indeed arrived. The peloton remained mostly together during a large opening loop before returning to Plouay for four undulating and narrow finishing laps, where the real action began.
The elastic snaps
The testing conditions made for slippery wet roads which caused a number of small crashes and with 35km to go a large crash spread right across the road with many riders caught behind.
Van Vleuten was amongst the riders caught up and as the road turned, a challenging crosswind section created splits in the peloton.
The world champion made a big effort to get back into contention, however by the time she returned to the front of the race, two riders, Deignan and Banks had escaped and sat around one-minute ahead of the main bunch.
10 in pursuit
Sensing the danger, Van Vleuten took time to catch her breath before attacks came in the peloton which eventually led to a select group of 10riders getting away in hot pursuit of the dangerous duo.
Van Vleuten was present with teammate Brown for company, and the Mitchelton-SCOTT riders tried multiple attempts and attacking to get away and reduce the gap to the leaders but without success. With no real cohesion between the 10 chasers, the two leaders continued to dangle around 50seconds in front as they headed into the final lap.
The pair held on to contest the finish, with Deignan coming out on top. Behind, the chasing group of 10 was swallowed up by the main bunch with a large sprint for the final podium spot. Despite Mitchelton-SCOTT’s great efforts, the team walked away with a result outside the top-10.
“I’m really happy with how I was able to race today. I’ve been feeling good in training and it’s nice to be able to validate that in the first race back.
“We were in a good position with Vleuty and I in the small chase group, but unfortunately none of our attacks stuck and we weren’t able to get good cooperation from the other girls.
“Although we missed out on a result in the end, I have some added confidence to take into our next races.”
2020 GP Plouay Lorient Agglo Results:
1. Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) 2:43
2. Lizzie Banks (Equipe Paule Ka) ST
3. Chiara Consonni (Team Valcar) +1:13
31. Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-SCOTT)
Photos courtesy of Getty Images