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Nelson Seizes Victory and Ottestad Claims Overall Win at Tour de Normandie

Josie Nelson of Team DSM-Firmenich PostNL emerged triumphant in the final stage of the Tour de Normandie today, executing a decisive attack in the closing kilometres to secure a solo victory in Caen.

With an ambitious strategy to enliven the stage, Team DSM-Firmenich PostNL demonstrated strong teamwork in the initial phase of the race, ensuring Nelson’s presence in a significant breakaway group. Negotiating the challenging terrain throughout the route, the breakaway group established a three-minute advantage, prompting a determined pursuit behind in the peloton, led by Nienke Vinke of Visma Lease a Bike, who monitored the chasing group closely.

As the race entered the final ten kilometres, it became evident that Nelson’s group would contend for the stage win. Demonstrating patience, the newcomer to Team DSM-Firmenich PostNL launched a decisive attack in the concluding kilometres. Without looking back until the finish line, Nelson celebrated a remarkable victory, marking her first professional win and the first for Team DSM-Firmenich PostNL Women’s programme in the 2024 season.

An ecstatic Nelson commented, “A group of about 20 got away up the climb on the second local lap with quite a few teams represented, so the peloton let us get up to three minutes, and it stayed that distance for most of the stage. Not many people were working, so we were really putting pressure on up the climbs to try and make the group smaller. Eventually, we got it down to five of us and one rider 20 seconds ahead who we eventually brought back. The break stayed away until the local finishing laps where the time gap got to just over a minute. I could see that I was one of the stronger ones in the group and realised I also had a technical advantage through the corners, so used this on the final lap and attacked with one kilometre to go and I held on for the win. All of the girls have worked so hard the past four days, so I’m really happy I can finish it off for the team.”

In a thrilling conclusion to the Tour de Normandie, Mie Bjørndal Ottestad of UNO-X Mobility clinched the overall victory, edging out stage winner Nelson by a mere one second after four stages and 424 kilometres of racing. It’s the 2nd season in a row that the GC has been decided by just 1 second in Normandy. Ellen Van Dijk, who had led for the first three days after winning Stage 1, settled for third place in the general classification. Victoire Berteau claimed the title of the best French rider in the Tour, securing fourth place overall.

(l-r) Josie Nelson, Mie Bjørndal Ottestad, Ellen van Dijk
(Photo credit: Cor Vos)

Reflecting on her triumph, Ottestad, visibly emotional, remarked, “This is my first race since the Tour de France 2023. Winning this race, which is really tough, is just incredible! I can’t believe it. After suffering a concussion following a fall on stage 4 of the Tour de France Femmes last July 26th, I hadn’t returned to competition since. In August 2022, I was already forced to end my season and was in recovery for three months. After a challenging journey, this victory means a lot to me. I never thought I would start my season this way.”

Another standout performer was Marion Bunel, the former member of VC Lisieux. Following a superb stage where she led for over 40 kilometres, the 19-year-old rider crossed the finish line in fifth place. Training frequently on the roads of Swiss Normandy, Bunel captivated the audience throughout the afternoon, finishing ninth overall. Expressing her satisfaction, Bunel stated, “I really gave it my all.” Her impressive performance bodes well for the remainder of the season.

2024 Tour de Normandie Feminin Stage 4 result

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2024 Tour de Normandie Feminin GC result

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