Emma Johansson Rides Into History In Northampton

Womens Tour
World number one Emma Johansson became the Friends Life Women’s Tour number one as she narrowly beat Marianne Vos on Derngate in Northampton to take the opening stage and with it the race lead.

The Swedish rider headed home Vos and Northamptonshire’s Hannah Barnes, who claimed the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Best British Rider jersey.

Johansson, of the Orica AIS team now leads the Friends Life General Classification by four seconds from Vos, and also the YodelDirect Points Jersey, thanks to points scored at the opening YodelDirect Sprint in Desborough, and the 15-points on the finish line.

The first ever Friends Life Women’s Tour was waved away from Oundle under blue skies, with Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson waving the Union Jack in front of large crowds packing out the picturesque Northamptonshire market town.

An active and engaging race saw several attacks fail to stick, with Rossella Ratto the first to gain any significant advantage with her attempt after the day’s opening YodelDirect Sprint taking her clear over the race’s first Strava Queen of the Mountains climb at Harrington.

With Ratto caught the next major moment came in the grounds of the Althorp Estate and the last 30-kilometres with the race splitting up sending Elise Delzenne clear.

The Specialized Lululemon rider built up a lead of up to 45-seconds as the race skirted around Northampton, but come the closing kilometres the lead was whittled down by the Rabo Liv and Boels Dolmans teams until Delzenne was caught approaching the final kilometre to go marker.

All back together and Lizzie Armitsead opened up the sprint with around 450-metres to go with Johansson on her wheel. Vos then came past to take the lead, with Johansson’s late sprint pipping Vos to victory in the first ever stage of the Friends Life Women’s Tour.

Armitstead faded to finish eighth, with Leicestershire’s Lucy Garner two places ahead of her in sixth, the day before the Friends Life Women’s Tour races through her hometown of Cosby.

Stage Two sees the 90-riders remaining in the Friends Life Women’s Tour racing from Hinckley to Bedford in a 118.5-kilometre leg, finishing on The Embankment in Bedford on Thursday 8th May.

Highlights of Stage One are on ITV4 in the UK at 9pm this evening, with a repeat on Thursday morning at 8am.

Speak Your Mind

*