Lisa Brennauer clinched the overall victory in the Aviva Women’s Tour, surviving an attacking final day of racing through the Chiltern Hills from Marlow to Hemel Hempstead, won by Hannah Barnes.
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling rider sprinted to victory in the Premier Inn Best British Rider Jersey as the peloton once again caught the day’s break of Claudia Lichtenberg and Audrey Cordon inside the final kilometre.
The duo were finally reeled in by a fast charging peloton on the arrow straight final 500m, setting up an exciting finish with Barnes coming through to claim her biggest victory to date – along with both the Premier Inn Best British Rider and SweetSpot Best Young Rider prizes by virtue of her fifth overall.
Behind Barnes Stage Two winner Jolien D’hoore took second with Simona Frapporti third, while General Classification Contenders Brennauer, Majerus and Johansson took fourth, fifth and seventh respectively.
The World Time Trial Champion’s consistent finishing of top six places on all five stages earned her the Chain Reaction Cycles Points Jersey to pair with her Aviva Yellow Jersey, finishing with a six second advantage over D’hoore with Majerus a further second back.
“This Tour is one of the biggest events on the women’s calendar, so this victory means a lot to me. It was a great victory for me, but also for the whole team - big thanks to all my team mates,” said the Velocio SRAM rider afterwards
“I have to thank my team-mates, it wasn’t easy today – a tough stage with all the hills and a lot of hard attacks.
“I worked hard yesterday to get the jersey back. I missed some of the intermediate sprints. I wanted to get to the point where I could give back to my team-mates for all their hard work.”
Having started amidst the biggest crowds of the week in Marlow in Buckinghamshire, riders headed into the Chiltern Hills for a stage of attacking racing.
A lead group of four riders, including eventual YodelDirect Combativity Winner Gracie Elvin, formed early on but were caught by the top of the first Strava Queen of the Mountains climb of Cryers Hill as the General Classification contenders fought for bonus seconds at the first Chain Reaction Cycles Sprint at Prestwood, which came almost immediately afterwards.
Lichtenberg then attacked on one of the day’s, many, unclassified climbs with many riders trying to cross to her, but Wiggle Honda’s Cordon was the only one to make the junction with thirteen kilometres remaining.
Yet again though in the Aviva Women’s Tour the escape would not prevail, setting up Barnes for a highly popular win in Hemel Hempstead.
“This was the biggest aim of the year, so I’m happy to have pulled it off,” she said.
“I knew it would be hard in the Chilterns and what to expect. The sprint was crazy, very difficult. I got boxed at 100m to go but thankfully got free.
“The team are normally used to the American peloton & wide roads,” continued Barnes, before praising teammate Alexis Ryan for protecting her in “the Alexis bubble”.
With breakaway riders sweeping up the big points at both Strava Queen of the Mountains climbs Orica AIS rider Melissa Hoskins extended her lead by a point to keep hold of the orange polka dot jersey ahead of Elise Delzenne.
The Boels Dolmans team added the Aviva Team Classification to their two stage wins with Elisa Longo Borghini claimed the Overall YodelDirect Combativity Award having been at the front of the action on several stages.
Highlights of Stage Five will be shown by ITV4 at 8pm, with a repeat at 11.15am on Monday 22 June and available on demand via the ITV Player for 30 days after broadcast.