The sixth and final stage (155,3 kilometres) of the AJ Bell Women’s Tour ended in a bunch sprint again on Saturday. After two sixth places on Friday and Thursday, Sofia Bertizzolo did not take part in the sprint this time. She chose to attack earlier in the stage, which was unfortunately eliminated in the finale.
The attack of the day arose at about ninety kilometres from the finish. At first only Eugenia Bujak, Veronica Ewers, Dani Christmas and Ane Santesteban were in it. Sofia Bertizzolo bridged the gap to the four riders and could then hope for success, knowing that she is fast in the sprint. However, the escapees were caught up in the last twenty kilometres. Elisa Balsamo won the stage. The leader’s jersey of Demi Vollering was never in danger.
For Liv Racing, the Women’s Tour was a tumultuous race. After the first stage the team had only three riders left due to a heavy crash with Alison Jackson and Jeanne Korevaar among others. One day later Evy Kuijpers abandoned due to illness. As a result, the team rode the final part of the race with only two riders: Soraya Paladin and Sofia Bertizzolo.
“Because of the early crash of Jeanne and Alison and because of Evy’s illness, we were soon behind in this Women’s Tour. The only thing you can do is attack. And our Italian riders have done that very well. Soraya showed herself yesterday, Sofia today. Cycling is a team sport, but the circumstances forced us to approach it as an individual sport,” says sports director Brenders.
Photo credits: Cor Vos