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Jolien D’hoore finishes fifth in chaotic finale of Women’s Tour stage one

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Belgian Champion Jolien D’hoore finished in fifth place in the opening stage of the 2015 Aviva Women’s Tour, between Bury St Edmonds and Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast, as stage winner Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) crashed shortly after crossing the line. German Champion Lisa Brennauer (Velocio-SRAM) took second place, ahead of Swedish Champion Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) and Simona Frapporti (Alé-Cipollini), after hard work from the peloton had chased down a breakaway group of four riders.

Unfortunately, Armitstead collided with the official photographers shortly after crossing the line, crashing heavily. All of the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling riders managed to avoid the incident.

“It didn’t really go like we planned today,” D’hoore admitted. “We were just too far back to do a proper sprint. We missed out on a chance today, but there are four more days to come. We will stay positive for the next stages.

“I just hope Lizzie Armitstead is okay after her crash,” the Belgian champion added.

The 112km stage saw the peloton stay together for most of the first half but, as the race made its way through the centre of Ipswich, a breakaway group began to form. Marta Tagliaferro (Alé-Cipollini), Coryn Rivera (UnitedHealthcare) and Heather Fischer (USA) were joined by former Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling rider Elinor Barker (Matrix Fitness), Katie Archibald (Pearl Izumi) and Rivera’s teammate Katie Hall. Fischer crashed out of the group, but the break then received a huge stroke of luck as the peloton was forced to stop at a railway crossing.

By the time the bunch was able to get started again, the breakaway’s advantage had stretched out to 2’45”, with less than 40km to race.

“It wasn’t great for us today, unfortunately we missed the break and we had to chase harder than we hoped we would have to do to bring it back,” Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Dani King explained. “It was a bit of a messy finish, and Jolien ended up fifth. It’s okay for us; it takes the pressure off us a bit tomorrow, but it’s not exactly perfect.

“I did a lot of work today, and had quite a good feeling in my legs,” the Olympic Champion added. “I’m feeling quite good on the bike.

“The atmosphere was amazing again this year,” King commented on the huge crowds that were out at the side of the road. “I rode the Tour last year, and the crowds were just phenomenal. It was so good to see so much support for women’s cycling in the UK. All the schoolchildren came out, and were screaming, and it really lifts everyone riding; it gives us goosebumps as we’re riding, and makes us go even faster!

“We’re really grateful for all the support that we get on the roads.”

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling, along with Velocio-SRAM and Liv-Plantur, began to steadily close the gap to the breakaway group, which soon reduced to four riders as Archibald lost contact on the final climb. With 10km to go the quartet’s lead was down to one minute but, as they turned onto the Aldeburgh seafront with 3km to go, they still had 40 seconds. The breezy seaside conditions proved too much for them, however, and they were caught inside the final 500 metres.

“It was relatively uneventful for the first 50km or so,” said Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Nettie Edmondson. “It all stayed together, but it was pretty fast.

“Once the break got away, we thought it was okay, and it was still under control until we hit the railway lines, where we got held up by a minute,” the double Track World Champion explained. “The break didn’t have to stop, so we had a big gap to close; that changed the plan a bit, so we had to use three riders to bring it back. They did a brilliant job, but unfortunately we weren’t able to get up for the win today.

We’re looking forward to trying to change things up tomorrow,” Edmondson concluded.

1. Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans)
2. Lisa Brennauer (Velocio-SRAM)
3. Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS)
4. Simona Frapporti (Alé-Cipollini)
5. Jolien D’hoore (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)


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