Behind the scenes at the Friends Life Women's Tour with Matrix Vulpine - Stage2

Today was the longest day at the Women's Tour and right on cue the heavens opened - that didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the crowds though

by Tony Farrelly   May 8, 2014  

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

and you can find the Friends Life Women’s Tour online at

5 user comments

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No team foul weather gear?

posted by themartincox [466 posts]
8th May 2014 - 20:03


themartincox wrote:
No team foul weather gear?

Perhaps they need to get a clothing manufacturer on board…..

monkeytrousers's picture

posted by monkeytrousers [72 posts]
8th May 2014 - 20:28


That's cos they're well''ard

posted by cyclingdave70 [32 posts]
8th May 2014 - 23:42


Beautiful photos!

Looked like a quick day on the highlights, despite the weather, well done to all at Matrix - holding in so well and doing us all very proud! Smile

Merlin Cycles women's race team ~
Manx nerd peddler ~

mooleur's picture

posted by mooleur [542 posts]
9th May 2014 - 12:07


Just caught up with the highlights this morning. Delighted for Ratto. She got what she deserved after being really active on day 1 as well. Stage racing whether for men or women needs riders like her prepared to attack and to ride themselves into the ground, knowing that it won't always pay off. Yesterday it did and she managed to grab the yellow jersey as well as the stage win. First time I saw her was at last year's Worlds where I thought hers was the standout performance aside from Vos.

Seemed like Johanssen's team either couldn't or wouldn't put in the work to bring the break back (as Lizzie A unsubtly alluded to in her post race comments), which actually made it more exciting for the spectator as by the time Dolman-Boels and Rabo-Liv resigned themselves to leading the chase it was very late in the day. As it turned out we had the romance of a successful breakaway leaving a young rider from a smaller team with just a few seconds lead on GC, and all the main GC contenders still only a few seconds behind. Pretty much the dream outcome for race organisers and sponsors...

Hoping that Utd Healthcare have the desire and ability to work Hannah Barnes back into a podium position and hopefully the white jersey along with it. They may feel that a podium and a couple of jerseys from Day 1 plus keeping Laws in the polka dots and Barnes in the top 10 is enough ambition for their week though.

Great to see the crowds at the roadside despite the weather and congrats to ITV 4 for a decent job on the highlights so far.

posted by Bhachgen [105 posts]
9th May 2014 - 12:11