Amy Pieters won the queen stage of the 2017 OVO Energy Women’s Tour in Staffordshire on Thursday. With the victory, the 26-year old Dutchwoman repeats her stage two win of last year in the British stage race. A reduced bunch of around 30 riders arrived at the finish line together, and Pieters was the fastest to the line.
Stage two was an active, heavy stage, with attacks coming from the peloton as soon as the flag was dropped. Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team wanted to make this an aggressive race too and tried to get away on several occasions.
“We tried to form a break,” Pieters said. “We wanted to race aggressively today. But no one really got very far. Eventually, we stopped, because the peloton kept it all under control.”
Anna Trevisi (Ale Cipollini) and Alison Jackson (BePink) were the first to get a reasonable gap to the peloton.In a joined effort by WM3 Pro Cycling and Boels-Dolmans, they were caught back after 84 kilometres.
Shortly after, Christine Majerus saw herself off the front in a leading group with Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb), Anna Plichta (WM3 Pro Cycling), Clara Koppenburg (Cervélo-Bigla), Sarah Roy (Orica-Scott) and Trixi Worrack (Canyon-SRAM).
“That was an ideal situation for us,” Pieter said. “We didn’t have to chase. When everyone of Christine’s group was back in the peloton, no one really tried anymore.”
Brand escaped the lead group on one of the many climbs on the stage two menu and was able to stay away the longest. She was reeled in by the peloton at five kilometers to go.
Pieters found herself in a reduced bunch with teammates Chantal Blaak, Anna van der Breggen and Majerus.
“They then led me out for the sprint," she noted.
With the unpredictable nature of The Women’s Tour stages, and today’s queen stage in particular, Boels-Dolmans didn’t designate a leader in advance.
“We left it open to see how the stage would develop,” Pieters said. “At a certain point, we talked to each other and decided I was going to go for the sprint.”
Kasia Niewiadoma (WM3 Pro Cycling) sprinted to fifth place to retain her leader’s jersey. The Polish champion sits 1:46 ahead of teammate Marianne Vos in second and Hannah Barnes (CANYON//SRAM) in third. Majerus is best-placed for Boels-Dolmans on general classification in eighth place at 1:55. Pieters has said that team is not focusing on challenging for the leader’s jersey just yet.
“We don’t have any concrete plans for that,” Pieters said. “We take each day as it comes. Today went pretty well and we’ll come up with a new plan tomorrow."