When the OVO Energy Women’s Tour came to a close in London on Sunday evening, Christine Majerus climbed onto the podium. Three times. The Luxembourgish champion, who sprinted to third on the final stage, solidified second overall on the general classification and won two jerseys – the sprint classification and the points classification.
“All of this is a bit unexpected for me,” the ever-humble Majerus noted following stage five. “I wasn’t thinking about the general classification going into this race. I wanted to ride strong and maybe take my chance on one stage. We thought about going for Amy [Pieters] after her stage win, but unfortunately her crash forced us to change the plan. I’m happy that I could come up with some decent shape to stand up in her place.”
The OVO Energy Women’s Tour concluded with 10 laps around a 6.2-kilometre central London circuit. Majerus and her Boels-Dolmans teammates set out to make the race hard from the start in an effort to maintain second overall behind stage one winner Kasia Niewiadoma (WM3 Energie). During the opening lap, Boels-Dolmans’ blistering pace forced a split in the peloton. A dozen riders had gone clear, including five from Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team.
“The girls were really motivated to give it a try, and it was pretty cool that the surprise at the start worked out and that we could stay away for so long,” noted Majerus. “I think it was a good way to showcase women’s cycling.”
Whilst away, Majerus contested the first intermediate sprint, coming second behind Hannah Barnes (CANYON//SRAM).
“I did the sprints to make sure I got some more seconds on Sunweb for the overall,” said Majerus. “The sprint jersey wasn’t actually a spoken goal but to challenge for it and eventually come away with it was a nice bonus.
“The first sprint was hard because I had been turning on the front with my teammates,” Majerus said. “Hannah could just sit on, so she was fresher.”
Despite an unofficial team time trial of sorts by Boels-Dolmans in the front group, the escape came back to the bunch 20 kilometres after it had formed.
“They had to dig deep behind to catch us,” said Majerus. “In that way, it wasn’t a waste of energy.”
Majerus opted to spend further energy in the second intermediate sprint. She came second in that one, too – again behind Barnes.
“It was more of a fight for position than the first,” said Majerus. “I just made sure to be there somehow.”
From the second intermediate sprint to the exciting finale, Majerus relied on her teammates to allow her to recover. She sat in their wheels as they kept the pace high to discourage break attempts in the last two laps.
“The final sprint was actually the best of the three,” said Majerus. “I went from ‘I am not allowed to get any gaps here’ to ‘Maybe I can sprint for the stage victory.’ I did my best. It wasn’t enough for the win, but it was another podium and kept me in second.
“I was really proud to be a part of Boels-Dolmans today,” she added. “It was a terrific move in the early breakaway. Even if it hurt, it was really satisfying. I have to give a special shout-out to Amy who kept fighting despite her crash wounds.”
Boels-Dolmans leaves England with one stage win, three stage podiums, second overall and two classification jerseys.
“I think with Amy’s win and all the podiums, we can be happy,” said Majerus. “It’s obviously not the general classification win, but the first day was how it was and despite that, we kept fighting for what was still available. It worked out pretty well in the end.
“I have no regrets,” she added. “I’m proud of the way we adjusted to every change in the race situation. It really could have been any of my teammates up on the podium. We rode so strong and so united the whole week.”