After yesterday’s punchy finale, today saw the peloton faced with a flat finale which would suit the sprinters. However, to get to the finish the sprinters would have to get over a 13 kilometre long climb that averaged four percent in the middle of the stage.
From the flag drop there were attacks in the bunch but no breakaway was able to properly establish itself, with small groups getting 20 or 30 seconds before being brought back in. As a result it was all together on the climb where a strong pace was set, which saw a lot of the more pure sprinters dropped. The team were well represented in the front group as the race charged down the descent and towards the final climb of the day, which proceeded the flat run to the line.
Over the top of the last climb, the pace increased and Liane Lippert rode well to make the front split, covering the dangerous move. It soon regrouped on the flat and things were set up for a reduced bunch sprint finish. Alison Jackson acted as last lead out rider for Coryn Rivera through the technical finale, with Rivera delivering a good turn of speed to take fourth place on the line, with Jackson herself holding onto sixth – for an impressive double top ten for the team.
“Today was a sprint day, but that didn’t mean it was pancake flat – we still had a big climb to get over,” expressed Rivera at the finish. “We had the numbers today, we got five over the climb including myself, and we were able to drop the big sprinters and focus on the finish. We were represented in all of the bigger breaks of the day and were always in control. In the finale we caught the solo rider and Juliette did a big dig on the front to help control that break. Alison was my key lead out woman to get me into position. I made a small miscalculation for the finale but could finish it off in fourth and Alison held on for sixth. It was a good day of teamwork today and hopefully we can build on this momentum in the next stages.”
Team Sunweb coach Albert Timmer added: “Our goal for the stage was to either sprint with Coryn or be in the break with someone if a group went clear. On the long climb CCC went full gas and that was good for us. Half of the sprinters got dropped by the pace on that climb and we were mostly all at the front. On the final climb a group of 12 went clear with Liane but it came back together again. From then on it was all-in for the sprint, with a nice fourth place for Coryn at the finish. We’ll keep fighting for more top stage results in the coming stages.”