Top riders head for the hills hoping for better conditions

The OVO Energy Women's Tour heading from Henley to Blenheim Palace on Tuesday but ten riders crashed out near Didcot. Photo: Simon Grieve NNL-190613-092532002
The OVO Energy Women's Tour heading from Henley to Blenheim Palace on Tuesday but ten riders crashed out near Didcot. Photo: Simon Grieve NNL-190613-092532002

Cycling enthusiasts should head to Burton Dassett Country Park today (Thursday) to get a close-up view of the top women riders.

The OVO Energy Women’s Tour will take in three assents of Burton Dassett hills on stage four of the event including the finish. They will take the same course as their male counterparts, which included Tour de France winners Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas, took in September’s Tour Of Britain that attracted large crowds to the country park.

The speed went up in preparation for the second intermediate sprint. There was a fall before me, which I could not avoid

Marianne Vos

The stage begins in Warwick 10am, taking in Coventry, Nuneaton and Rugby before heading through Pillerton Priors and up Sun Rising Hill – which will be the SKODA Queen of the Mountains climb – along Camp Lane and arriving at Burton Dassett at around 2.15pm. Spectators will see the riders climb the hills three times to the finish an hour later and will include the SKODA Queen of the Mountains climb.

But the riders endured a torrid time during Wednesday’s stage from Henley-on-Thames to Blenheim Palace.

Boels Dolmans Cycling Team’s Jolien D’hoore continued her strong start as she sprinted to victory at historic Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, on Wednesday to claim her second win in three days.

D’hoore, wearing the Breast Cancer Care points jersey, edged out Lisa Brennauer (WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling) by a narrow margin to add to Monday’s victory in Stowmarket, Suffolk.

Brennaeur’s reward for the time bonuses she has accrued in this year’s race thus far is the OVO Energy green jersey of race leader.

But overnight race leader Marianne Vos was one of ten riders forced to abandon mid-stage following a crash near Didcot. The Dutch rider required treatment to cuts on her face.

Vos said: “The speed went up in preparation for the second intermediate sprint. There was a fall before me, which I could not avoid. I fell hard on my head and, apart from a cut and some scratches, I don’t have any other injuries.

“Yet I went to the hospital because the cut had to be stitched. Very unfortunate, I was quite upset by it, because I was in such a good position. But even after a fall, the race continues, but this time without me.”

Trek Segafredo rider Anna Plichta earned the Wahooligan Combativity Award for a long solo break of just under 100 kilometres, one that saw her escape shortly after the opening SKODA Queen of the Mountains climb at Pishill above Henley-on-Thames in south Oxfordshire. She was eventually caught at Alvescot in west Oxfordshire with 41 kilometres remaining.