Winder wins Tour de Feminin overall title
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling walks away with overall, QOM and sprint jerseys
KRASNA LIPA, Czech Republic – To say that UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team dominated the 2017 Tour de Feminin – O cenu Českého Švýcarska (2.2) is an understatement. After winning the first day of the five-stage race, Ruth Winder continued to impress, claiming the second stage and leading the overall standings for the entire event.
Winder also staked her claim in the green sprinters jersey, while Tayler Wiles finished second overall and the best in the queen of the mountains jersey. The team also celebrated a win in the best team classification.
“This is a fantastic start to our European campaign,” team director Rachel Heal said. “We’ve had a great season in the U.S. to date and it’s great to come over to Europe and prove right from the start that we can mix it up over here as well.”
Stage by stage
The first day of the Tour de Feminin kicked off with a120 km race with two mountain points, three intermediate sprints for both time and points, and two “special primes” for the rider’s own weight in ham or other such prizes.
The team’s plan was to go for sprint and mountain points, and then be aggressive for last 50km to see if they could force a break.
Winder and Lauretta Hanson both took points/time in the intermediate sprints and Wiles scored points in the mountains classification.
With 30 km to go, Winder launched an attack on a slight rise with a speed no one could follow.
“Ruth put her head down and didn’t stop until she crossed the line, over a minute clear of a hard chasing peloton,” Heal said.
With the race off to a good start the team continued its success on the second stage – a short, but tough parcours with three categorized climbs and plenty of other non categorized ascents along the way. At the end of the day, Winder again found herself on the top step of the podium.
“We showed good teamwork again,” Winder said. “We were present at the front of the group and tried for another break with Tayler (Wiles) riding really strongly. It in the end came down to a fast and windy sprint finish. The team did a great lead out. Lauretta took me flying into the last 400 meters and set me up well for the finish. I’m happy for another win.”
Stage 3 was a double day, with a 14.6km individual time trial in the morning and a 72km road stage in the afternoon.
Wiles finished second in the ITT to Anne Sophie Duyck, the Belgian national TT champion and Winder took fifth, safely staying in the yellow jersey.
The afternoon stage featured a short, but bumpy 24km circuit covered three times by the peloton. Winder finished third, again claiming a podium spot for UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling.
The final stage was an all out battle to lay claim to the overall jersey.
The Belgian team of the second placed rider, Ann Sophie Duyck came out fighting today, launching riders off the front to soften things up,” Heal said. “Lauren, Lauretta and Rushlee did a great job of keeping things together, with Lauren covering moves.”
The team’s plan was to keep things together until the final climb, then launch Wiles over the top to try and claim the 11 seconds she needed to move up to second place overall.
Wiles broke clear of the peloton with Juliette Labous (France) as planned, and both rode full gas to the finish line, which was just 3 km away. Labous took the win and Wiles finished with enough time to bump up to second place overall.
“So we finished the week in first and second overall and with Ruth in the sprinters jersey and Tayler in the climbers jersey,” Heal said. “I’m so proud of the team for riding a fantastic race.”
Next on the schedule is Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen, held July 12-18.
Photos: Tour de Feminin & Jakub Trmal