Johansson sprints to second on penultimate day of the Aviva Women's Tour

Sat 20 Jun 2015

Swedish champion Emma Johansson has sprinted to second place in a technical finish to the penultimate day of racing at the Aviva Women’s Tour in Stevenage today.

A small lap with a series of tight corners characterised today’s finale but well prepared, Gracie Elvin led from the front for ORICA-AIS, giving Johansson an ideal run to the line.

The 2015 Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria champion started her sprint with 300m to go, stage winner and new race leader Lisa Brennauer (Velocio-SRAM) just passing her over the line. 

Also picking up a bonus second throughout the stage, the 31-year-old maintains fourth overall, sitting nine seconds off Brennauer and just two seconds off second place.

“Gracie came around first with (Christine) Majerus on her wheel,” Johansson said. “We knew the corner was short, but Majerus took it too fast so Giorgia Bronzini and I came through on the inside.”

“I started early, maybe with about 300m to go, but I knew it was my best chance and it was close.”

Sport director Martin Barras was pleased with the day’s racing.

“Second on the stage is nothing to sneer at and it was close enough to think that we could have potentially won it too,” he said.

“A lot of that is owing to the fact that the girls prepared really well for the finish.”

As the Tour reaches its crescendo, intermediate bonus seconds and classification points are hard fought, preventing any early moves escaping from the peloton.

The intensity was high but the race still together until directly following the second classified climb where it split into pieces.

Eventually two riders, Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle Honda) and Sabrina Stultiens (Team Liv Plantur), escaped and led from a two-piece peloton as more riders popped out the back.

The two chase groups rejoined, but the duo rode out to a 55second advantage with 15km remaining and looked threatening for not only the stage but to wrap up the overall competition as well.

A furious chase began from behind and gradually ate into the deficit, the leaders with just four seconds as they entered the tight circuit with a kilometre to go.