OVO Energy Women’s Tour: Dideriksen wins stage 4

Amalie Dideriksen (Boels Dolmans) won stage 4 of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour in a sprint finish in Worcester, beating Lotta Lepistö (Cervélo-Bigla) and Marianne Vos (WaowDeals) to the line. Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) finished in 14th place and defended her overall lead.

Stage 4 covered 131.5 km from Evesham to Worcester, with two intermediate sprints as well as the category 1 Snowshill climb and the category 3 Atch Lench along the way. The stage was dedicated to the memory of pro cyclist Sharon Laws who died of cancer in December. Laws had won the Queen of the Mountains jersey in 2014, and the stage through Worcestershire covered her training roads.

After a short-lived attack by Aafke Soet (WNT Rotor) and Coralie Demay (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope), Charlotte Becker (Hitec Products-Birk Sport) got away alone after 11 km. The race had to be neutralised as the race doctor was busy attending to the victims of a crash only 5 km into the race, and when the green flag was waved again at km 27, Becker’s lead quickly shot up to over two minutes.

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Coryn Rivera took two bonus seconds in the first intermediate sprint to bolster her lead in the general classification, and the Snowshill climb split up the peloton. Fifteen riders reached the top together only 30 seconds behind Becker. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Cervélo-Bigla) and Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Wiggle High5) broke free from this group and bridged to Becker on their own, while the rest of the group was caught by the peloton again. The front trio quickly built an advantage of 2:50 as the peloton didn’t commit to controlling the gap.

Halfway through the stage the peloton split in two on a crosswind section, and this started the chase as the sprinters’ teams slowly but surely ate into the escapees’ lead. At the second intermediate sprint with 39 km to go, Ludwig, Cordon-Ragot, and Becker still had two minutes, but with 20km remaining, this had shrunk to less than a minute.

Ludwig went on a solo attack with 19 km to the finish, but was quickly brought back, as was Cordon-Ragot when she tried the same move a bit later. After this, the breakaway cooperated again and stayed ahead for a long time, but their adventure was over with 6km to go.

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