Grace Brown rides to huge TT win in Brittany to take GC lead

On the third day of the Bretagne Ladies Tour CERATIZIT, Grace Brown claimed the individual time trial. The Australian managed to navigate the challenging course in and around Plouay faster than Maaike Boogaard and Coralie Demay. Brown also assumed the leader’s jersey from Marta Lach.

The third day of the Bretagne Ladies was of great importance for the competitors harbouring ambitions for the overall standings. On Thursday, a 19.6-kilometre individual time trial had to be completed. Both the start and finish were in Plouay and along the way, several tricky climbs had to be overcome, providing opportunities for significant gaps to be made.

The first benchmark time was set by Alice Barnes, who covered the route in 29 minutes and 43 seconds. Célia Le Mouel (St Michel – Mavic – Auber93) managed to do significantly better shortly thereafter with 28’34”, but Maaike Boogaard soon came in. The Dutch rider managed to shave nearly half a minute off Le Mouel’s time. Her time would stand for a while until Grace Brown finished. The Australian was considerably faster than Boogaard, with a time of 26’57”.

No one would be able to beat Brown’s time. Marta Lach, who started the day as the overall leader, couldn’t either. The Polish rider lost nearly three minutes to Brown and consequently had to hand over the leader’s jersey to the Australian. Boogaard, who finished second in the day’s results, has moved up to seventh place in the overall standings.

“I didn’t see this result coming. It was a hard course with a lot of small hills. I tried to get everything I had in me on that bike. In hindsight it’s now a bit sad I lost time after a mechanical in the final on Wednesday because I would be higher up in the GC. That’s the downside but the upside is that this result is such a surprise to me. I crashed out of Flèche Wallonne with a concussion and had to stay off the bike for a week.

I wanted to use this race to get back in the rhythm and I think it worked well. I needed this mental boost. As a team we are so strong here so I am looking forward to the last two stages in Bretagne. I am happy I still have it and losing to Grace Brown is no disgrace.”

Maaike Boogaard

2023 Bretagne Ladies Tour Stage 3 result

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Main photo credit: Sylvain Sly