Wiles locks in mountains jersey at Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour
GOTHA, Germany – New Zealand road champion Rushlee Buchanan capped off a successful week for UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team at the 30th Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour (2.1), finishing third place on the stage after six days of racing around central Germany. Tayler Wiles took first on the mountains classification as well as claiming victory on the fifth stage of the tour.
Buchanan takes third on final stage in Gotha
“It has been a great week of racing here in Thuringen,” team director Rachel Heal said. “To come away with a stage win as well as the mountains jersey is fantastic and a podium in the final stage is the icing on the cake.”
Canyon SRAM’s Lisa Brennauer won the title, while Wiles finished fifth and Ruth Winder in tenth place overall.
Stage by stage
The team began its Thüringen campaign with a six km technical prologue.
Wiles was one of the last starters and had both wet roads and strong winds to contend with, but put in a strong performance for eight place, just five seconds off the podium. Winder and Rushlee Buchanan also put in strong rides to finish 14th and 15th respectively.
Brennauer (Canyon SRAM) won on the day.
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team went into the next stage with a bang. The plan was to go on the offensive, and it paid off with Wiles taking the lead in the mountains competition and winning the most aggressive rider jersey on the 125 km stage.
“We were aggressive, but nothing was getting away and it was looking like a bunch finish,” Heal said.
Tiffany Cromwell (Canyon SRAM) jumped clear inside the last km and held a small gap to the line to claim the stage win. Winder, Wiles and Katie Hall finished safely inside the front group.
The next day was another 124km day featuring four laps of a 26km circuit, finishing up a steep, one km climb.
“Going over the climb on the third lap a group of 10 riders went clear with Tayler in,” Heal said. ‘”The group quickly built up a gap of one minute. With three km to go, four riders got a small gap as two others faded. Lex Albrecht leaped clear to take the stage win and Tayler finished in fourth place.”
The following two stages, another road race and time trial, passed quietly for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team, who rode smart and worked towards securing Wiles mountains jersey.
It was the 5th stage where the team pounced again. On the 108km stage in Griez, the plan was to force a break to try and get a stage win.
They were patient for the first 40km, then start to fire riders off the front until finally Winder broke clear with four other riders.
The break wasn’t allowed much of a leash and on the final climb with 10 km left, the gap was just 10 seconds. Wiles spring-boarded across, which gave the break new firepower.
“On the run in to the finish, it was down to a handful of seconds, just six seconds at 2km to go,” Heal said. “Tayler and Ruth were fully committed, driving the break as hard as they could. Lauren Stephens attacked the break and Ruth followed, and it looked like the two of them would sprint for the finish, until a crash in the final bend at 25m to go took them both down. Tayler went through on the inside to take the victory.”
Fortunately, Winder had no major injuries and was back out fighting the next day.
“The win was for Ruth and the rest of the team who have fought so hard at this race and always believed in me,” Wiles said. “I couldn’t have done it without them.”
On the final day of racing, Buchanan finished third out of a breakaway that was won by Skyler Schneider (USA). Wiles held on to her lead in the mountains jersey while moving up one spot to fourth overall in the general classification.
The women’s team will return to the states to compete in the Colorado Classic on August 10-12.