Elvin thrives in the rain to finish fourth on stage two of the Aviva Women's Tour

Thu 16 Jun 2016

Former Australian champion Gracie Elvin thrived in the wet British conditions today, sprinting to fourth place on stage two of the Aviva Women's Tour.

Heavy rain and steep climbs, much harder than anticipated, made for a difficult day in the saddle with the peloton splitting significantly on the final Queen of the mountain, with Elvin and Amanda Spratt present for ORICA-AIS.

In the end it was Dutch rider Amy Pieters (Wiggle-High5) who snatched the victory in a close final into Stratford upon Avon, with Elvin just behind in a well-fought fourth place. 

"The race was splitting up the whole day," explained sport director Gene Bates. "It really split on the final climb of the day into three distinctive groups." 

"We didn't think today would actually be so hard. I think it was a combination of the climbs and the weather that really made it a tough day and everyone really suffered because of it."

Elvin claimed three seconds in the intermediate sprints during yesterday's stage one, but then crashed in the final and lost time. The general classification was reviewed this morning and the three kilometre rule was taken into account meaning Elvin started the stage in fifth position overall just seven seconds behind the leader.

"After the review of the general classification, we started today's stage in a good position," continued Bates. "With Gracie and Amanda making the front group today it really sets us up well for the next days."

"Sometimes it's harder when your not expecting a stage to be so difficult, we really thought it would be a large bunch sprint finish today.

"We have to be happy with the result, we had two very good riders in the front and they are the two riders we were hoping to go well during the next two hillier days. 

"Both these girls have been climbing very well and then also sprinting well in the finishes. I think we can expect to see something good for them in the next two stages and the general classification is still very close together."

How it happened:

The riders took to the start line ahead of the longest stage of 140.6kilometres in drizzly, wet conditions.

During the first 50kilometres of the race the peloton was very active with numerous riders jumping ahead in the hope of creating an early breakaway. 

Emilia Fahlin (Ale-Cipollini) was the first main escapee sitting around 30seconds ahead of the peloton for a period of time before eventually being reeled back in as teams looked to claim maximum mountain and intermediate sprint points. 

The action really started at the first Queen of the mountain, which proved to be much harder than the previous day.

The narrow and twisty roads, plus heavy pouring rain certainly created a difficult stage with ORICA-AIS working hard to stay out of trouble after a couple of crashes yesterday. 

Amelie Dideriksen (Boels-Dolmans) and Malgorzarta Jasinksa (Ale-Cipollini) were the next two riders to escape, riding out to a 50second advantage, but as the second and final QOM of the day came at 116kilometres, they too were taken in by the peloton and huge splits formed with 25riders going clear.

Within the lead 25 riders, Spratt and Elvin were present for ORICA-AIS and the leaders established a 4minute lead over the main, broken down peloton as they raced into the last 20kilometres.

There was a late attack with just three kilometres remaining but it wasn't to be, as the race favorites jumped past in a rapid charge for the line. 

Pieters proved to be the fastest on the day taking the victory, with Elvin fighting hard with cold, wet legs to a respectable fourth place.

ORICA-AIS face a hard hilly stage tomorrow which covers 2000metres of climbing during the 109kilometre race. A stage likely to shake up the general classification, where Elvin currently sits in seventh place.

Aviva Women's Tour Stage 2 results:

1. Amy Pieters (Wiggle-High5) 3:36:55
2. Lisa Brennauer (Canyon-SRAM) ST
3. Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) ST
4. Gracie Elvin (ORICA-AIS) ST

General Classification after stage 2:

1. Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) 7:01:26
2. Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans) +0:03
3. Amy Pieters (Wiggle-High5) +0:07
7. Gracie Elvin (ORICA-AIS) +0:14