It was an early start to proceedings at the 19th edition of the GP de Plouay, with the riders setting off at 9 am local time. The peloton was set to tackle the 101.1-kilometre route consisting of a big loop taking the riders out toward the village of Lignol before heading back to Plouay via Kernascléden to complete four 13.7 kilometre laps. In contrast to previous editions, the circuit was shorter and punchier than the traditional loop. This year’s circuit consisted of three short climbs, the Côte du Lézot, with sections of up to 19%; the Montée de Lann Payot and finally the Côte du Pont-Neuf, which crested two kilometres before the finish line.
The riders took to the start under gloomy conditions with strong winds and showers threatening to play a major role in the outcome of the race. Following a brief neutralisation due to road issues, racing began with the big teams controlling the peloton. Most notably, Anna Henderson patrolled the peloton for the team as they entered the circuit in Plouay.
Crashes and crosswinds soon thinned out the group and split the peloton allowing moves to materialise. Taking advantage of the reduced peloton was a break of three that built a substantial gap over the peloton through the sinuous country roads and despite losing one rider due to a crash, their gap continued to grow.
With the chasing peloton failing to reduce the advantage, Annemiek Van Vleuten seized the opportunity, forming a very strong chasing group in her wake, which included Team Sunweb’s Liane Lippert. The gap to the leading duo fluctuated according to the injections of pace behind. Unable to cooperate due to the substantial amount of riders that made the split and the sheer talent of the group, they were ultimately brought back with just under half a lap to go.
Up ahead Deignan secured the win from the breakaway, while the peloton battled it out behind for the third and final step on the podium. Despite her earlier efforts, Lippert produced a good turn of speed and finished just behind Leah Kirchmann, who was Team Sunweb’s first rider home in 11th place.