Johansson third on opening Aviva Women's Tour stageWed 17 Jun 2015
Swedish champion Emma Johansson has started off the Aviva Women’s Tour with a podium, finishing third on the opening stage into Aldeburgh.
After looking like surviving courtesy of a railway crossing, the day’s break was eventually caught in the final 500metres setting up a fast sprint finish.
Lizzie Armistead (Boels Dolmans CT) took a marred victory after she crashed following the line.
For Johansson, it was a positive start to the Tour having come off a six-day race program in Spain.
“I felt good,” Johansson said. “I didn’t get a full opportunity to open up in the sprint but that’s alright because the legs are feeling good.”
On a relatively flat stage, the peloton stayed together for the first 50km. After the first classified climb, won by ORICA-AIS’ Melissa Hoskins, the attacks began.
A break of three established after 60km of racing and was later joined by an additional two riders who bridged across.
Their advantage didn’t look threatening, sitting at a little over 30seconds, until the peloton were held up at a railway crossing. Once back underway, they were then looking at a two and a half minute deficit.
The chase wasn’t urgent from behind, the five still with one-minute 30seconds lead heading into the final 20km.
With just five kilometres remaining a catch didn’t look likely, the gap hovering around 40seconds. Velocio Sports hit the front in a big effort in the final three kilometres to slash the gap and bring it back for the bunch kick.
Sport director Martin Barras said that it was a positive start for the outfit.
“It’s a good outcome,” Barras said. “It puts Emma in the game without really putting too much responsibility on her back or on the team’s back.”
“We had a good day as a team, maybe not perfect, but by and large we ticked a lot of the boxes and we probably got a better assessment of the intensions of the various teams than we had at the top of the day.”
The Aviva Women’s Tour continues tomorrow with a 138km stage from Braintree to Clacton.