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Tour of Britain Women: Wiebes takes stage three as Kopecky holds lead
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Tour of Britain Women: Wiebes takes stage three as Kopecky holds lead

SD Worx-Protime’s dominance of the Tour of Britain Women continued on stage three as Lorena Wiebes won the sprint for the line in Warrington. It was her team’s third straight victory in the race and it is entirely conceivable they could secure a clean sweep in Sunday’s finale.

The general classification leader, Lotte Kopecky, illustrated her team’s iron-fisted grip on the four-stage race by setting up her SD Worx-Protime colleague Wiebes for the win.

The Belgian, who maintained her 17-second lead over Britain’s Anna Henderson going into Sunday’s final stage, guided Wiebes to within 200m of the finish line. Dutch sprinter Wiebes then powered away to outlast Charlotte Kool (DSM-Firmenich PostNL), as Georgia Baker (Liv-AlUla-Jayco) finished third.

It will take a decisive move from one of her rivals during stage four to get Kopecky out of the leader’s green jersey, with bonus seconds on the line not enough to change the general classification standings alone. Given SD Worx-Protime had three riders in the top 15 places on stage three, that kind of turnaround seems unlikely.

“The team did a really good job all day controlling the breakaway,” stage winner Wiebes said afterwards. “We kept Christine [Majerus], Lotte, Barbara [Guarischi] and me together for the final. Christine delivered us really well through the corner and it was a really fast finish.

“I was there with 200 metres to go and started my sprint. I’m so happy to deliver for my team,” she added. “It’s always nice when the girls have done so much work to finish it off. One more to day to go, so we go again full for it.”

Kopecky, the reigning world champion, said: “Defending the GC [is the biggest priority for the final stage], we are 17 seconds ahead so with the bonus [seconds alone] it’s not possible to be beaten anymore, so we will have to be attentive and see who can go out.”

Saturday’s narrative was largely written by a two-rider breakaway of British riders Jo Tindley (Pro-Noctis-200° Coffee-Hargreaves Contracting) and Maddie Leech (Lifeplus-Wahoo), who attacked with 102km to go and built a gap of four minutes. Leech suffered mechanical problems and had to drop back after the second Queen of the Mountains checkpoint. Tindley was able to continue solo, but she was eventually caught about 12km from the line.

There was a a late attack by Valerie Demey, but she also suffered a mechanical issue, allowing the sprint trains to take over on the run into Warrington. Henderson (Great Britain) leads third-placed Letizia Paternoster (Liv-AlUla-Jayco) by 15 seconds.

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In the Critérium du Dauphiné, Primoz Roglic and his Bora-Hansgrohe team closed in on overall victory as the Slovenian won stage seven and extended his lead over Matteo Jorgenson (Visma-Lease a Bike) in the general classification standings to 1min 2secs. Roglic attacked with around 250m to go to the summit at Samoëns 1600 to finish narrowly ahead of Jorgenson and Giulio Ciccone (Lidl-Trek).

Soudal Quick-Step’s Remco Evenepoel, who started the stage second overall, slipped off the podium after being dropped in the mountains for the second consecutive day, losing more than a minute to Roglic. Evenepoel’s demise means Derek Gee (Israel-Premier Tech) moves up to third overall, and Evenepoel down in sixth.

Source: theguardian.com