THE WORLD famous Aviva Women’s Tour came through Warwickshire last week and although Marianne Vos led at the end of the second stage in Stratford-upon Avon, it was Britain’s Lizzie Armitstead who clinched overall victory.
Vos pulled on the leader’s jersey in Stratford-upon-Avon after her third place finish behind Amy Pieters moved her into the overall lead.
But Armitstead battled back and a 14th position at the end of the final 113km Northamptonshire stage was enough to see her finish 11 seconds ahead of Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio.
Armitstead also clinched the Best British Rider Jersey as the highest placed Brit, with a 53-second advantage over 2012 Olympic Gold medallist Dani King.
The victory will also move Armitstead up to second in the standings of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, behind her teammate Megan Guarnier.
“What a fantastic team performance it’s been” said Armitstead, who was positioned eighth after the Warwickshire stage of the tour.
“We had quite a lot of pressure on us with the team performing so well all week I couldn’t let them down really so I’ve relieved and happy that I did it for them.
“With the break of seven at one stage having in excess of four minutes, Armitstead admitted some nerves, but once again took the opportunity to praise her team.
“Being a British athlete I feel so lucky to be a part of a country that loves cycling at the moment and I hope that that bubble continues. My teammates say ‘Lizzie, why is it so popular here?’ and I don’t really know the answer, but events like this certainly help keep the ball rolling.”
Heavy rain met riders in Warwickshire for the second stage as Amy Peters led a 27-rider group home at the end of a 140km course.
Pieters headed reigning Aviva Women’s Tour champion Lisa Brennauer and Vos in a photo finish, with Orica AIS rider Gracie Elvin fourth and overnight leader Christine Majerus finishing fifth.
Despite often inclement weather conditions the stage was a fast paced affair, with lots of attacking riding, no rider more so than Ale Cipollini’s Emilia Fahlin, who was twice away in moves off the front of the race, the second time alone.
The Swede was caught on the first Strava Queen of the Mountains climb at Burton Dassett, with Amalie Dideriksen and Malgorzata Jasinska the next duo to stay away, building a gap of 50-seconds, which was steadily whittled down by the speeding bunch.
The pair were caught by the small lead group with less than 20km of racing remaining and despite a flurry of attacks on the run in, the leaders hit the final kilometre together, with Pieters pipping Brennauer by the narrowest of margins.