Video/Gallery: Jolien D’Hoore from Belgium wins second leg of The Women’s Tour
- Credit: Su Anderson
The second stage of The Women’s Tour has come to a close in Clacton with Jolien D’Hoore from Belgium emerging the victor.
A breakaway rider was reeled in by the peloton with less than 4km to go and there was a tight bunch sprint finish, but D’Hoore won the stage.
Lisa Brennauer won the yellow sprint jersey, plus the blue jersey for most points scored.
Speaking after the race, Brennauer, who finished second in the stage, said: “It was pretty hectic out there today, especially when we were about to catch Vera Koedooder from the breakaway. There was a lot of movement in the pack and teams trying to set up their sprinters.
“I had two team mates with me who did a really good job and put me in a really good position, and the sprint opened up. I did my best.”
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“Commenting on the shock crash after the finish at the end of the first stage she added: “I feel really sorry for what happened, and it felt weird to me to wear the yellow jersey today.”
Coryn Rivera won the best young rider title for the second day in a row while Melissa Hoskins was named Queen of the Mountains and will ride out in the spotty jersey tomorrow.
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Elinor Barker will set off in purple after being named top British rider in the stage.
Peter Hodges, from the race organisers, said the race had been keen to return to Essex after the success of holding a stage start and finish in Tendring last year as well as the Tour de France passing through the county.
He said: “It’s great to be back here, and it’s good to make it a complete Essex stage this year.
“We had great support from Tendring District Council last year and Braintree had the Tour de France come through but was keen to have something in the town.
“What we want to see from a venue is not just something on the day but a legacy as well, and both councils have done that.
“In terms of racing we have some lovely scenery in Essex and Suffolk and parts are quite open and exposed, it is very much like a stage in Holland or Belgium and makes for exciting racing.
“We have got more than 90 of the world’s top cyclists and we want to showcase them.
“The crowds out on the route yesterday were fantastic and they have been great again today.”
Commenting on calls for the race to make Essex a permanent feature on the tour calendar, Mr Hodges added: “You can never say never.
“We’ve have the Tour of Britain and Tour Series in Colchester and Ipswich, and the Women’s Tour here and in Suffolk. It is not just about the councils, but the public support it too.
“We get a great welcome, great crowds, especially given this is on a weekday – sadly we can’t have everything on a weekend.”
The day has been warm and dry but there have been some strong breezes which were expected to slow the riders down.
Instead they defied the weather and set a fast pace on the course, with the race currently running seven minutes ahead of the “fast pace” timings for much of the day.
A group of riders from Colchester Rovers Cycle Club pedalled across to Clacton to watch the end of the race – and even had a go at the sprint section in Great Bentley on the way.
Linda Thompson, from Marks Tey, said: “We took the day off work to come to this.
We did speed up as we went through the sprint, and people were cheering.”
Sally Sharp, from Dedham, added: “We got to go through the finishing line as well which was great.
“I watched last year’s stage at Cox’s Hill in Manningtree, and though that was good there is definitely more atmosphere at the finish.
“It’s a shame Colchester don’t host the Tour Series any more, I used to really enjoy that, it was excellent.”
Fellow club member Helen Brand, from Tiptree, said: “It is nice we can pop out locally to see the race.”
Vince Fox, from Colchester, said the group were hoping to spot Laura Trott in her national champion jersey.
Keen cycling fan John Breadman, from Braintree, watched the start of the stage in his hometown before heading over to Clacton to watch the riders cross the finish line.
Before the finish, Mr Breadman said: “I used to cycle a lot but not so much anymore because of my hips.
“The start was busier and the atmosphere was lively, but you will get that when they announce the teams.
“I’m looking out for Laura Trott coming through, I hope she wins – she is probably everyone’s favourite.”
Clacton couple Paul and Amanda Bassett live just around the corner from the finish line, and were in place along the finishing line well before the riders came through the final corner.
Mrs Bassett said: “We think it’s a fantastic experience, it doesn’t happen every day and it is great for the town. There is a great atmosphere.
“I was working last year when the stage finished so unfortunately I was not there. We would like to see more of this sort of thing though, it really puts Clacton on the map.
Mr Bassett added: “My mum and dad were though and they enjoyed it, and they are back again today.
“We love to see the race come back every year.”