Race leader Alexandra Manly made it a hat-trick of wins and four straight stage victories for Team BikeExchange-Jayco on day four of the LOTTO Thüringen Ladies Tour.
The 26-year-old proved she was the strongest once again with a well-timed sprint to the line in Schleiz, finishing off another imperious all-round team performance in style.
Heavy rain welcomed the riders, but that didn’t stop an aggressive start to the stage. A series of attacks came and went throughout the day, but Team BikeExchange-Jayco constantly had things under control as they looked after their race leader.
There was a brief moment of panic when Manly was caught up in a crash in the middle of the bunch, but the Australian was quickly back to her feet and going again after a swift bike change.
The undulating terrain saw the peloton whittled down to a group of around 30 riders, with Ruby Roseman-Gannon pulling a massive turn on the front, to bring back a lone leader ahead of the final climb to the finish line.
Manly remained calm despite attacks inside the last kilometre, with the double stage winner biding her time on the slopes, before launching a perfectly timed sprint to take her third win of the week and extend her race lead with two days remaining.
Alex Manly (1st):
“Today it was planned [to go for the win], but I wasn’t sure I would be able to pull it off today, but the girls were incredible again. That one was a bit of a blur, but I’m so happy to pull it off.
I think maybe with 50km to go, with more of the bergs, my legs started coming good there. I was like ‘ok I can do this’ and I need to do it because the girls are sacrificing themselves for me, so you’ve got to finish the job sometimes.
I can still lose the jersey, anything can happen. I had a girl crash into me today and I had to stop and do a bike change again, so anything can happen, it’s a bike race. But I’m just going to enjoy it while I’m in it!”
Andrew Smith (Sport Director):
“We were hoping again that we could just consolidate the GC. The focus was firstly on keeping the jersey, and secondly on the stage. We hoped that maybe a few riders would go up the road that where far down on the GC, but that never really happened.
On the first category two climb of the day there was a bit of crash and Alex needed to change the bike, but she never panicked, she was always in control of the situation. But there were a few attacks off the front that put us slightly on the back foot.
But the girls quickly took control of the situation and rode well together, controlling the race and following everything that was important. In the end, it was super hard because of the wind and the hills into the finish, but Alex had a good ride because of her teammates protecting her and always making sure we were in control, then she finished it off perfectly.”
2022 LOTTO Thüringen Ladies Tour Stage 4 – Results:
1. Alexandra Manly (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) 3:30:56
2. Ricarda Bauernfeind +0:00
3. Marta Lach +0:00
2022 LOTTO Thüringen Ladies Tour Stage 4 – GC:
1. Alexandra Manly (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) 12:11:39
2. Marta Lach +0:28
3. Femke Gerritse +0:33