WORDS: REBECCA BLAND
IMAGES: ZAC WILLIAMS
Stage six represented the likely last chance for breakaway success, or at least, success for those non-mountain goats in the peloton. The riders took in almost 50km less than yesterday, but with far more elevation – including four categorised climbs.
An early breakaway did form, with 12 riders making the move. The team was represented by Jesse, who worked effectively, taking turns and making herself known at the front of the race, as she explained.
“The goal was for one of the team to try to be in the breakaway because it might be our last chance to be in one as everybody knows tomorrow the fight will be on with the climbers. You saw the riders that wanted to try but the peloton didn’t really let anyone go.
“Jumbo was really controlling the front, and SD Worx was also trying to have someone in the break, but Nico said in the briefing that the perfect moment to try and go in the break was on the climb in three parts. At the end of the climb, I was in the front, and then I attacked and then I heard Nico say “There are 12 girls in front”, and I thought, ‘Oh yeah, nice’.
The breakaway lasted for the majority of the day, with various attacks off the front as the gap dipped below one minute in the latter half of the stage. Jesse herself attacked but didn’t have the legs to continue with the move, and eventually, the break was swept up by the peloton.
“The first 10km were very hard because when you attack then you put a lot of energy into that, and only about eight girls were working together and maybe four were just sitting in the back and not doing anything. If Jumbo or DSM do not work it’s not a big deal because they are here for GC, but some other girls were always in the back so that’s a bit shit. On the other hand, you’re happy to be in front and you want to show yourself and it’s just nice to be turning, so yeah, a good day out.”
The breakaway was caught with roughly 8km to go, the pace rapidly increasing after the final climb to end the stage in a sprint. Lizzie was our highest finisher in 29th, and she commented on how good she felt as she crossed the line, which bodes well for the first of two mountainous stages tomorrow.
Stage seven will be a test for the climbers as the race takes in some of the longest ascents of the race, including the Grand Ballon at 13.5km in length.
If you want to catch the action live, tune into GCN+, Discovery or Eurosport.