Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour winner Alexandra Manly continued her impressive run of form with a powerful sprint to second place on stage three of the Women’s Tour.
The Australian was teed up for the reduced bunch kick by her Team BikeExchange-Jayco teammates after a lively finale to the stage, that saw American Kristen Faulkner go on the offensive.
An early breakaway was caught on the second categorised climb of the day and the race burst into life as several riders launched moves off the front of the pack on the short, but steep gradients.
Manly and Faulkner were alert to the action as they followed a move on the climb and a group of 18 formed. Faulkner then attempted to escape, but her rivals soon closed her down, before she went on the attack again as the peloton bridged across to the group with 8km to go.
However, there was no escaping the bunch as the day look set for a third sprint finish in three days. Team BikeExchange-Jayco quickly changed their plan as they went all-in for Manly, with Faulkner and Georgia Williams pulling big turns on the front leading into the final kilometre.
Manly then bided her time before opening up her kick for the line, with only stage two winner Lorena Weibes able hold off the fast-finishing Aussie. The result now sees Manly move into third overall with three stages remaining.
Alex Manly (2nd):
“To get second to Lorena, I’m pretty happy with that, she’s the fastest person in the world. Georgia and Kristen did an amazing lead out, and I was then able to surf the wheels after that. It was a good day for the team, everyone played a good part and we’re really happy.
I was pretty happy to be there [in the group of 18], we had Kristen and I knew that we had it covered if anybody went, but also we wanted to see if Kristen could get away, because she’s really, really strong. It was good to be there and have it covered if it stayed away and we had Georgia in the group behind coming back, so it was a good situation for us.
It was a good stage, there was a lot more action, I think people wanted to drop Lorena, but it didn’t happen in the end. Now we’ll just see how it goes for the rest of the race and take it day by day.”
Martin Vestby (Sport Director):
“It was a pretty big group of 18 riders that got away and we know that if Kristen can open up a gap in a final like that, it’s a good chance for us. We played every card today and we had a complete team that backed each other up, so it was really great racing today.
It was a team effort at the end getting Alex up into position to sprint against Weibes and I think we made a really good effort of it, it’s almost like a victory.”
2022 Women’s Tour Stage 3 – Results:
1. Lorena Wiebes 2:51:27
2. Alex Manly ST
3. Coryn Labecki ST
2022 Women’s Tour Stage 3 – GC:
1. Lorena Wiebes 8:50:27
2. Sofia Bertizzolo +0:13
3. Alex Manly ST
Photo: SW pix