Roy in the mix once more with fifth on a chaotic stage three of the Women’s Tour

Wed 12 Jun 2019

Australian Sarah Roy got amongst the sprint finale once again as she took fifth place on stage three of the Women’s Tour.

The third day of racing came down to a bunch kick for the line yet again despite numerous attacks in the closing kilometres and a large crash that saw the race neutralised.

Early Action

With two categorised climbs coming inside the opening 25-kilometres, plenty of action was anticipated early on the 145.1-kilometre stage and that proved to be the case as the bunch passed over the first ramp.

It was Anna Plichta (Trek-Segafredo) who edged clear of the field and made it over the following climb at Britwell Hill while a small group gave chase behind. However, the peloton wasn’t keen to see the chase group get away and the move was reeled back in, leaving the lone leader ahead.

With the bunch seemingly happy with the race situation the gap went out to over one minute, but drama then struck when a 40-rider crash brought the race to halt with 79-kilometres remaining. Roy and fellow Mitchelton-SCOTT teammates Grace Brown, Alex Manly and Gracie Elvin were all caught up in the crash but were quickly back to their feet, while race leader Marianne Vos (CCC – Liv) was forced to abandon.

Another Fast Finish

When the race got back underway, Plichta was able to stretch her lead out to just shy of two minutes before the peloton hauled her back with around 40-kilometres left to race.

With the peloton all back together, attacks soon started to roll off the front, but nothing was sticking with a number of teams determined to set it up for another sprint finish. A second crash then split the bunch apart, leaving four groups spread across the narrow lanes, but it was altogether once more with 30-kilometres to go.

The winding roads presented opportunities for attacks and Brown put in a dig in an attempt to get away, but the sprinter’s teams were keen for a sprint. Roy managed to position herself on the wheel of stage one winner Jolien d'Hoore (Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team) approaching the flamme rouge but the 33-year-old didn’t have the legs to hold her off as she crossed the line in fifth.

Sarah Roy:
“That was one of the bigger crashes I’ve ever seen or experienced. Alex and I were right there with everybody fighting for wheels, then CCC-Liv went down and we did too, along with the majority of the bunch.”

“Our girls all came away quite lucky from that, very bruised and beat up. It was a few minutes there before I was able to peel myself off the ground after someone removed the bikes from on top of me. Usually I jump right up, but that was a big crash. I’m sorry for Vos who was leading the race. Cycling’s a gnarly sport and these women are all so badass.” 

“There were a few small hills in the last 30-kilometres through some rolling, twisty terrain which was a good opportunity for attacks. There was a brief split, but Jess and Alex were around covering and getting in the moves. Grace put in a good attack over one of the hills as well, but it seems Boels-Dolmans we’re super keen for a sprint.“

“Coming into the final Alex was with me helping with good positioning and with about two-kilometres to go I was in good position on Jolien’s wheel but that wasn’t an easy thing, obviously everyone wants that wheel. I managed it though and with 700-metres to go we took a hard right through the Palace gates into the finish straight. Jolien braked hard and so we came out of there at pretty much a standing start which wasn’t ideal. Bummer not to get a result but good to try things.”

Women's Tour - Stage 3 Results:
1. Jolien d'Hoore (Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team) 3:46:04
2. Lisa Brennauer (WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling) ST
5. Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST

General Classifcation After Stage 3:
1. Lisa Brennauer (WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling) 9:29:21 
2. Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) +0:05
5. Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:08

Photos courtesy of Getty Images