Big crowds and dodgy weather continued the theme from yesterday’s first stage of the Friends Life Women’s Tour. in fact the weather was decidedly dodgier on a rain lashed stage as the Matrix Vulpine girls and the rest of the peloton raced from a lumpy stage from Hinkley to Bedford… it was a tough day in the saddle as you can see from Matrix Vulpine lensman, Paul Calver’s pictures and Robin Godden’s words.
“The longest stage, mixed with the bad weather made it quite possibly one of the toughest.
“The first 20kms were raced at blistering pace, with eventually a break of two sticking, Ratto & Zorzi staying away for the rest of the day.
“Mel rode a great race finishing 35th in the fast run in, and we showed our intent with jo making the first break of the day.
'Harriet's bad luck continued after being stuck behind a crash & Jessie hit the deck.
“The rain didn't stop for the finish, and with the bunch bearing down on them Ratto took the win from Zorzi with Vos winning the bunch spring.
“All our riders will take the start in Felixstowe tomorrow.”
The break really paid off for Italian rider Rossella Ratto, who took not only the stage but the overall race lead after making her escape early in the stage. She was joined by compatriot Susanna Zorzi, at a point she said afterwards when she was beginning to tire. She had enough at the end though to out spring Zorzi for the win.
The two Italians now head the general classification with Marianne Vos lurking ominously just behind them. Yesterday’s winner Emma Johnsson drops down to fourth and Lizzie Armitstead moves up to fifth after picking up time bonuses in the intermediate sprints Hannah Barnes is a second back in sixth and local girl Lucy Garner (the race went through her home village today) is in 10th place.
Highlights of today’s stage will be broadcast on ITV4 at 9pm this evening and again tomorrow morning.
You can find out more about the Matrix Vulpine team via their website http://www.onthedrops.cc/team/
and you can find the Friends Life Women’s Tour online at http://thetour.co.uk/home.php
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.