All-in chase as Lorena Wiebes sprints to 6th on stage 2 at Tour de France Femmes

All-in chase as Lorena Wiebes sprints to 6th on stage 2 at Tour de France Femmes

After making history yesterday by taking the first yellow jersey at the Tour de France Femmes, Team DSM were back in action for today’s second stage with Lorena Wiebes resplendent in the leader’s jersey as the bunch rolled out of Meaux. Faced with a predominantly flat 136 kilometre long stage, albeit with a kick up to the line, a flurry of attacks at the beginning of the stage saw the break of the day form out front.

Taking up the onus in the peloton to chase, Franziska Koch set a good tempo and kept the break relatively close. Approaching 80 kilometres to go the nervousness in the bunch increased as they approached a potential crosswind section and as a result the break was caught and the race was all back together. Proceedings stayed calm for a while but unfortunately some crashes caused splits in the bunch approaching 30 kilometres to go. Through the finish line for the first time Wiebes took second place, while lone escapee Van der Duin scooped up maximum points. Using the false flat over the top of the finish climb, a strong five rider group launched a counter-attack and bridged across to the front.

The team took up the chase as they battled through a crosswind section but those ahead worked well together and heading into ten kilometres to go the gap was 30 seconds. Despite a fully committed chase by everyone in the team, those ahead would fight it out for the stage win and the new yellow jersey. Honouring the maillot jaune and the team’s all-in efforts in the chase, Wiebes sprinted to the line to lead home the chasing peloton, claiming sixth place at the finish.

“Leading into the narrow bit it was really hectic and the crashes started,” explained road captain Pfeiffer Georgi. “Luckily we were all really well positioned all day so none of us crashed, but we hope that those who went down are okay. It went pretty hard for the intermediate sprint and we missed the split so we were just trying to chase. The wind was getting stronger throughout the day, particularly on the local laps and it was split to pieces after that intermediate sprint climb. In the end we couldn’t bring it back for the stage win unfortunately, but I think GC wise it’s not too bad for Juliette and it’s all still to play for over the next six days.

Team DSM coach Albert Timmer added: “It was a lot of chaos. I think that the plan we had was not too bad when we look back, we were almost always in the positions when and where we should be. It also meant we were out of the trouble in the crashes. After the intermediate sprint they went and at that moment we weren’t there, so there we missed it a bit. From that moment on we went all-in to the finish line to see what we could do and what we could save. We lost the jersey which was a pity, and another chance to sprint for the win, which is not so nice. In the end for GC not much was lost so I think we can still be happy Juliette was safe. It’s a day with mixed feelings.”