A close second for Rowney on the penultimate stage of the Boels Rental Ladies Tour

Sat 3 Sep 2016

After yesterday’s victory in the Boels Rental Ladies Tour, ORICA-AIS came close to victory again today with Tour de Feminine stage winner Loren Rowney sprinting to second place.

A late breakaway of three riders almost beat the peloton to the finish line, being swallowed up with just three kilometres remaining as the bunch prepared for a mass sprint. 

Rowney displayed her sprinting abilities on stage one of the tour where she sprinted to fourth place. Today she was given another opportunity but in the end had to settle for second place with Lisa Brennauer (Canyon-Sram) claiming the stage.

Sport director Gene Bates was pleased with the result, making it two consecutive podium places for the team. 

“It was another hard day in the end, really windy, narrow roads a few big splits,” said Bates. “The girls rode well again they were present in all the main moves.”

“With about 40kilometres to go we decided to go all in for Rowney as she had a good start to the tour with a sprint so the girls were keen to support her in the finish.

“She had to start her sprint pretty early after Roy dropped her off and she produced a really strong finish again. In the end close but no cigar. 

“Rowney is developing into a rider who can consistently podium in sprint finish which we haven’t really had up until now, so it’s really great to see.” 

Tomorrow, for the final day of the race, the riders head into the Ardennes for a challenging hilly day. A certain stage for the climbers, it has the potential to mix up the overall classification.

“Tomorrow is going to be really hard, even harder than the previous years,” Bates continued. “We go up the Cauberg climb four times in total and there are around ten categorised climbs."

"It will pretty much be all for Amanda Spratt, we will try to set her up as best we can and let her little legs do the rest.” 

How it happened:

The penultimate stage of the six-day race began like yesterday’s stage, with a high pace from the start. Many riders took their chances and attempted to break away, but nobody was given much freedom in the first half of the stage.

ORICA-AIS, fresh from their stage victory the day before, remained mostly in the bunch, maintaining good position and looking after their sprinters Sarah Roy and Rowney ahead of the finish.

With 40kilometres remaining and after many attacks unable to gain more than a 40second advantage, Chantal Stougje (Park-Hotel) made a well-timed attack and was able to break free. 

Two other riders, Thea Thorsen (Hitec-Products) and Chantal Hofmann (LottoSoudal-Ladies), also jumped clear working together to bridge across to the solo leader.

The trio established a one minute advantage as they headed closer and closer to the finish line in Tiel. It was unpredictable whether or not the escapees would survive to the finish line, still holding on to a gap coming into the last 10 kilometres. 

However, due to a furious chase from the race leading team and other sprint teams, the leaders were swallowed up as they passed the three kilometres to go mark.

The Australian outfit, hungry for a repeat of yesterday’s success, decided to back the team’s other sprinter Rowney. In the end it was Brennauer who proved the fastest claiming the stage victory with Rowney in a close second place. 

Tomorrow the final stage sees the peloton head to the Ardennse for a hilly closing stage with Amanda Spratt the team’s highest place rider on the general classification.

Boels Rental Ladies Tour stage 5 results:

1. Lisa Brennauer (Canyon-Sram) 2:52:30
2. Loren Rowney (ORICA-AIS) ST
3. Jolien D’Hoore (Wiggle-High5) ST

General classification after stage 5:

1. Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) 12:10:32
2. Ellen Van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans) +0:11
3. Karol-Ann Canuel (Boels-Dolmans) +0:33
15. Amanda Spratt (ORICA-AIS) +2:39