It was a case of another day, another Dutch victory at the Tour de Yorkshire on Saturday. Well two more, considering that Kirsten Wild’s (Hitec Products) win at the women’s race was followed later in the day by Danny Van Poppel’s (Team Sky) in the men’s race.
Aside from that similarity, there was much else in common between the two races. One major story of the day was the lack of television pictures as the television transmitter plane was struck by technical difficulties. This meant that the women’s race, due to be televised in its entirety, was not shown at all, while the men’s race also saw large chunks go unseen.
That the two races ended with bunch sprints was more expected. Wild eased to victory by a bikelength from Lucy Garner (Wiggle-High5) to take £15,000 in prize money – the largest on offer in women’s cycling until August’s RideLondon Classique.
Earlier in the day home favourite Lizzie Armitstead (Great Britain) had been on the attack, along with Leah Kirchmann (Liv-Plantur) and Doris Schweizer (Cylance). Schweizer, the original lone breakaway rider, was joined by Armitstead and Kirchmann on the steep climb to Conisborough Castle some 40km out.
The trio had an advantage of over a minute with 15km left to race, but the Yorkshire crowds were ultimately left disappointed as the peloton made the catch just two kilometres from the finish. Come the finish, Wild just had to hop out of Marta Bastianelli’s (Alé-Cipollini) wheel to launch her sprint with 200 metres to go, taking a well-deserved victory.
1. Kirsten Wild (Hitec Products) 3h22:26
2. Lucy Garner (Wiggle-High5)
3. Floortje Mackaij (Liv-Plantur)
4. Alice Barnes (Great Britain)
5. Marta Bastianelli (Alé-Cipollini)
6. Anna Trevisi (Alé-Cipollini)
7. Jennifer George (Drops Cycling)
8. Nicola Juniper (Great Britain)
9. Nicole Moerig (Podium Ambition)
10. Evie Richards (Great Britain)
Over in the men’s race it was a rather similar affair – break, catch, sprint. Orica-GreenEdge had done much of the work during the run-in to the finish, work that was in vain, much like Team Sky on Friday. Their great sprint hope Caleb Ewan was nowhere in the final sprint though, finishing 30th while race leader Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Van Poppel did battle at the head of the peloton.
Van Poppel came out on top, edging out his countryman in a photo finish. It was Van Poppel’s first victory for the team since moving from Trek Factory Racing during the winter, and it means he also takes over the leader’s jersey.
The early action of the day, not that we saw much of it, was provided by Gruff Lewis (Madison Genesis), Richard Handley (One Pro Cycling), Edmund Bradbury and Josh Edmondson (NFTO), Michael Mørkøv (Katusha) and Stijn Steels (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise). This group made up the break of the day, and were later joined by Nicolas Edet (Cofidis).
Handley led over each of the day’s three climbs, taking the lead in the climber’s classification by one point from his teammate Pete Williams. Ten kilometres from the finish the break’s challenge failed, setting up the Dutch showdown on the finishing straight.
1. Danny Van Poppel (Team Sky) 3h04:20
2. Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo)
3. Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin)
4. Chris Opie (One Pro Cycling)
5. Loïc Chetout (Cofidis)
6. Albert Torres (Raleigh GAC)
7. Rick Zabel (BMC)
8. Christopher Lawless (JLT Condor)
9. Russ Downing (JLT Condor)
10. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Orica-GreenEdge)
1. Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) 8h13:15
2. Danny Van Poppel (Team Sky) +00:06
3. Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) +00:08
4. Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) +00:10
5. Stijn Steels (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) +00:10
1. Richard Handley (One Pro Cycling) 6pts
2. Pete Williams (One Pro Cycling) 5pts
3. Jens Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) 3pts
1. Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) 27pts
2. Danny Van Poppel (Team Sky) 21pts
3. Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) 18pts