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Tour de France Femmes

Tour de France Femmes: Kasia Niewiadoma misses stage victory but gains time on GC rivals

The Canyon-SRAM rider is still hunting for a stage win and more time gains.

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PROVINS, France (VN) — Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) may have missed out on the victory on stage 2 of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, but she got a pretty good consolation prize.

The Polish rider followed a late move by Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) that eventually formed to be an elite six-woman group that would stay away until the line. Despite a furious chase by the bunch behind, they gained 30 seconds in the general classification.

Niewiadoma still had her sights set on claiming a Tour de France Femmes stage win as the group rode up the kilometer-long final ascent to the line, but she couldn’t match the power of Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma).

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“I want to win here so we will keep on trying,” Niewiadoma said. “If I don’t win but we gain every day on GC then it’s still perfect for us. We will definitely keep on trying. The Tour is still long, but also not that long so we will take every single opportunity we can.”

Niewiadoma believes that preparation was key to the success of the move with many expecting a bunch gallop to the line as it had been on day one. However, the fierceness of the final climb caught some off-guard.

In the search for potential stage victories, Canyon-SRAM had already been to see the finale and knew that it would be tough.

“I think that most of the teams were expecting a sprint stage and not as many recon’d that stage,” Niewiadoma said. “Everyone was saying it was another sprint stage. Luckily, we had so we knew what to expect, especially after the finish line with all of the small roads. I’m definitely happy that we had a plan, we knew what to do and we did it.

“We were well-prepared for the stage. We had done a recon a few days ago, we had known what to expect, and basically, we just wanted to stay safe throughout the stage and if we would gain time it would be a bonus.”

With so much firepower in the group behind, few expected the group to stay away, not even Niewiadoma herself.

“I was surprised that we gained so much time because we were basically riding hard only with four as two other girls were not eager to join us, just every now and then,” she said. “It was definitely super hard but they didn’t catch us.

“I felt like the group was moving because everyone had some sort of interest in it. Myself and [Elisa] Longo Borghini were going for the GC and of course Marianne, and I thought Balsamo, was going for the stage victory but Trek was going for the GC time. We were working very nicely all together, and we gained some time.”

Niewiadoma is now looking to stage 3 from Reims to Épernay as another opportunity for a stage victory. Once again, the parcours features several small but punchy climbs, including the 194-meter Côte de Mutigny that comes about 16km into the stage.

She would also put a little bit more of a cushion between herself and some of the stronger climbers in the peloton before the real mountains arrive this weekend.

“I feel like I’m not a pure climber who could make two minutes on someone like Annemiek on the last stages, so I think that my opportunities are in those coming stages where I feel like they suit me more. It’s more of a classics style of racing and I do believe that if I gain time every day then everything is possible at the end of the Tour,” she said.