Brown top finisher on a brutal stage five of the Women’s Tour

Fri 14 Jun 2019

Australian Grace Brown was Mitchelton-SCOTT’s highest finisher on stage five of the Women's Tour as the race was blown apart on a brutal day of racing in Wales.

The 26-year-old continued her impressive return to racing after breaking her collarbone last month and put in a gutsy ride to lead home the second chase group on the road.

Tough Day Ahead

After yesterday’s first summit finish, the race returned to the hills for another punishing day with hardly a stretch of flat road to be seen over the 140-kilometre route to Bulith Wells.

The stage got underway with a bang as Kiwi Georgia Williams made into a 10-rider breakaway over the early uncategorised climbs. However, the peloton wasn’t happy with the composition of the group and soon reeled them back in.

But there was no time for a rest as a second break of four riders went clear. This time the bunch seemed content to let them go and the gap stretched out to over four minutes as they passed over the first of the categorised climbs.

Brutal Finish

The escapees advantage then began to fall as the pace increased back in the bunch, with the general classification teams looking to bring the race back together before the category-one ascent at Epynt.

The leaders were eventually hauled back on the slopes of the climb, but by this time the race had already been blown apart on the uncategorised ramps leading into the final big test of the day. The front of the race was now down to just 20 riders and as the summit approached, three riders jumped clear.

The trio was made up of stage four winner Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon SRAM Racing) as well as Trek-Segafredo duo Lizzie Deignan and Elisa Longo Borghini. With the chasers spread across the road the three escapees held their advantage to the line with Deignan taking the stage, while behind Brown battled on to finish 24th.

Grace Brown:
"Today we were hoping to get one of the team into the early break and I was to try and conserve for as long as I could and get as far as I could in the final climbs. Georgia did great getting into the first major break of the day, but after that was brought back another group went which we unfortunately didn’t get anyone into."

"I was really suffering most of the day and struggled even on the small rises leading into the main climb. Because of this I got caught a little further back that I would have liked on the run in. I stuck with the front group for maybe the first kilometre, but really didn’t have enough in my legs to hold on to the top."

"I think I’m definitely missing a bit of endurance at the moment and the last few days have really caught up with me today. Although I’m disappointed, I couldn’t do more for the team, especially when the girls have been doing such a great job to help me out, I have to remind myself that I’m only just back from my broken clavicle! It’s really special to have the chance to go for the GC even though it didn’t really work out for me today."

Women's Tour - Stage 5 Results:
1. Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) 3:54:35
2. Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon SRAM Racing) ST
3. Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafreedo) +0:02
24. Grace Brown (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +5:16

General Classifcation After Stage 5:
1. Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) 17:42:24
2. Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon SRAM Racing) +0:01
3. Amy Pieters (Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team) +0:32
24. Grace Brown (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +6:05

Photos courtesy of Getty Images