Elizabeth Banks and Leah Thomas finish in the top 10 overall at the OVO Energy Women’s Tour
The final stage of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour took the peloton from Carmarthen to Pembrey Country Park. At the commencement of racing, the riders had to complete a lap in the Carmarthen Velodrome as a ceremonial start to the 125.9km-long parcours. There were two classified climbs and more than 2000 metres of elevation on the menu today. A multitude of attacks at the commencement of racing characterised today’s final stage. Leah Thomas was able to make it into a large breakaway group, and although she suffered from a mechanical she was able to quickly catch back up. Afterwards, the group of escapees split into three sections, with Leah riding in the first group, which eventually was able to build up more than a minute’s advantage over the peloton. After spending almost the entirety of the day out front, she and her breakaway companions were caught with 40km remaining. Around 20km later, Lizzy Banks put in a gutsy attack, but was reeled back in, and in the finale, the race came back together again. In the end, Lizzy took out 11th position on the stage, while her teammate Leah finished in 13th place. In the GC, Lizzy finished The Women’s Tour in 7th, while Leah completed the race in 8th overall. As a result of her attacking racing style, Leah also collected the prize for the most aggressive rider on today’s stage.
After the race, Team Manager Thomas Campana commented: “After Julie crashed, the team was left with only three riders in the race, and this wasn’t necessarily easy. However, the remaining riders fought hard and in the end we were able to place two riders in the top 10 of the general classification. This is an excellent result, particularly considering that we only had three riders. Today was another hard day. The weather conditions were admittedly not so bad, however, the opening stages of the race were characterised by a multitude of attacks. Leah was able to get into the breakaway, but with her sitting in the top 10 in the GC, the lead group was not allowed too much room. She launched an attack on the second climb, crossed the QOM in first place, and tried to attack yet again. In the end, however, her group was reeled back in with 40km remaining. Then we continued to concentrate on defending our positions in the overall standings, and we were able to do that. Seventh and eighth place in the GC is an excellent achievement. We could also see this week, that our riders are in good form, which is particularly important in the lead-up to the national championships and the upcoming Giro Rosa.”