It was an aggressive day in France for the women, with relentless attacks that kept the speed of Classic Lorient Agglomération-Trophée Ceratizit high. By the end, it was a reduced bunch that came to the line together where Mischa Bredewold (SD Worx) took an exceptional victory ahead of Marta Lach (Ceratizit-WNT) and Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ).
How it happened
- The first attack of the day was by Uno-X’s Susanne Andersen, a move that left the Norwegian national champion off the front for most of the race alongside Karolina Kumiega (UAE Team ADQ) and for a brief time Ceratizit-WNT’s Franziska Brauße. At one point the gap was over six minutes, but as the race approached 60 km to go, and went over a series of climbs, the gap plummeted.
- Inside the final 50 km, the gap hovered around three minutes, and even as the kilometres ticked down attacks started to fly from the peloton, favouring the steady speed of the two riders in front of the race.
- Finally, with 17 km to go, once the race had reached the finishing circuits and with only Andersen left ahead of the peloton, the gap dropped to only one minute. The pressure on the reduced peloton was mainly by three-time GP de Plouay winner Lizzie Deignan.
- The pace didn’t stop attacks from other teams, with 2022 winner Mavi García trying a move, British national champion Pfeiffer Georgi having a go, and even hometown favourite Audrey Cordon-Ragot making an attempt.
- Liane Lippert attacked just as Andersen was caught as the kilometres dropped beneath 10 km to go, as behind her Marlen Reusser and Elisa Balsamo looked at each other, neither willing to do the work to bring the German champion back. Instead of a steady chase, it was attacks by DSM-Firmenich that closed most of the distance to Lippert.
- Ashleigh Moolman Pasio closed the final distance to Lippert with 4.2 km to go, and immediately the peloton spread out on the road.
- Attacks continued all the way to the line, but Bredewold kept her head and hovered near the front of the peloton to take her first WorldTour one-day victory.
Brief stage results
Quote of the day
Never in her wildest dreams did Bredewold think it would be her day, but before the race started she felt her legs were in good form. The SD Worx team did what they did best, keeping their eyes open and marking the moves that required attention.
Still, Bredewold felt the course wasn’t as safe as it could have been. The winner was even in the ditch at one point, after brushing wheels with another rider.
I have to say I really like this race but there’s a lot of road furniture. Of course, it’s part of the race but I also felt it was a bit dangerous. It was a bit scary today, but we managed okay. Actually, I crashed also! I dove into the gutter, but luckily nothing serious.Bredewold after taking the win
- When the break had over six minutes it was clear teams in the peloton weren’t keen to put a hand up to do the majority of the work. It’s something we’ve seen a lot this year, although mainly it’s directed at the super team of SD Worx. With neither Lotte Kopecky nor Demi Vollering present this weekend, the dynamic in the peloton was even weirder than usual, with only Lidl-Trek offering to take on responsibility. At one point Brodie Chapman, the Aussie national champion, could be seen trying to convince Movistar to help chase, something the Spanish team finally did with about 50 km to go.
- Lidl-Trek was initially keeping Deignan and former world champion Elisa Balsamo safe and was the team that did the most work, but in the end, it was Balsamo who carried the American team. Unfortunately, the Italian sprinter didn’t have the legs to win the day but still performed well as she continues to work her way back to form following a horrendous crash earlier in the season.
- The win on Saturday is the 56th victory in 2023 for SD Worx, who will come out on top of the UCI team rankings in a few month’s time regardless of how many points other teams can secure in the remainder of the season.
Up next: Simac Ladies Tour
The penultimate WWT stage race on European soil takes place from September 5th to the 10th in the Netherlands, with a 2.4 km prologue to kick things off, four road stages, one of which takes place in Valkenburg (guaranteed good stage, that) and a 7.1 km time trial.
It will be the final race for former world champion Annemiek van Vleuten, who will hang up her bike on Sunday after the race wraps up in Arnhem.
Keep an eye on the Escape Collective site for daily reports and analysis.
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