The third stage of the Womenís Tour of Britain took place today and in all honesty, I didnít feel overly energized in the morning, fatigue started to kick in. It sounds ridiculous after just two days – I guess Iím more geared towards cyclocross weekends with just two races.
The race started from the lovely Oundle and given that the riders were going to do small start loop and a slightly longer second start loop, there was no urgency for us to get on the motorbike, so I decided to try to find a good vantage point to shoot the start. After looking around, I found a†spot I quite liked – it turned out to be in the building of a law firm. Being lawyers, they were first a bit apprehensive, but once everybody gave a nod, they went out of their way to allow me to get the best possible spot. Thanks again, Vincent Sykes Solicitors!
The first hour and a half wasnít too exciting, the first QOM didnít do much damage to the peloton, but soon an attack finally stuck. First, it was just Chloe McConville (Orica-AIS), who was later joined by Heather Fisher (Team USA). The two pressed on†until†Sharon Laws (Bigla Pro-Cycling), last yearís Queen of the Mountains winner, decided to join the gang. It was fascinating to watch how she edged closer and closer to the leading duo, until she finally joined them.
The attack of Lex Albrecht (Optum p/b Kelly Benefits) from the peloton was maybe even more fascinating. She was turning herself inside out and fighting very hard to join the escapees. I think it is one of the perks of my job that I get to watch such battles up, close, and personal. It seemed like a suicide mission from the get-go, at times she got tantalizingly close to the leaders, but she never actually made contact and was eventually swallowed by the peloton.
With 15 km to go, they still had a bit more than a minute on the peloton and there was a slight chance that they would stay away. As Fisher said after the race, they were considering waiting for Albrecht, but they decided against it. A little later it all came together and it was due to be a sprint finish.
I was expecting many riders to win it, Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans) wasnít one of them. Firstly, this being my first season, there is still so much I donít know about this sport. Secondly, she is that selfless power domestique, who always rides for others, rarely for herself. When it became obvious that she was going to win, I was very happy. Good friend of mine, Dan Seaton always talks about being impartial and I agree with it, but somehow it made me very happy that she won. First and foremost, she is a cyclocross rider, secondly, the above mentioned selflessness. I was very happy for her to take the win.
The saddest part? Apart from Laws, who got the title of the most combative riderís award, the other three riders weren’t even mentioned. Cycling can be cruel sometimes.