Yorkshire: Zabel, Wiebes take sprint victories in Bedale

The Tour of Yorkshire produced two sprint finishes on Friday

Dutch rider Lorena Wiebes (Parkhotel Valkenberg) timed her sprint to perfection to win Friday’s opening stage of the women’s Tour de Yorkshire in Bedale. Wiebes, who is just 20 years old, out sprinted Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans) and Alison Jackson (Tibo-SVB).

The 132km stage started in Leeds and was predominantly flat— it followed the exact same route as the men’s race.

The women’s race saw a six-rider breakaway attack midway through the stage, however a tough pace in the peloton dragged the field back together with 5km remaining. Wiebes was pefectly positioned near the front of the group, and won the sprint handily.

Wiebes now takes over the lead in the race with the final stage set for Saturday. The victory marks Wiebes’ third of the season—in March she won the Nokere Koerse women’s race in Belgium.

The men’s race produced another sprint finish with Katusha-Alpecin lead out man Rick Zabel winning the kick to the line ahead of Boy van Poppel (Roompot-Charles) and Chris Lawless (Team Ineos). Overnight leader Jesper Asselman (Roompot-Charles) maintained his lead in the race overall.

Zabel benefitted from the work done by Dimension Data, which pulled for much of the day to set up its sprinter Mark Cavendish. After late surges by Team Ineos and CCC Team, Dimension Data rode at the front inside 2km to go. The team appeared to have Cavendish set up perfectly, however the British sprinter was muscled out of the way in the final 500-meter push to the line.

The men’s race continues Saturday with a 135km hilly stage from Bridlington to Scarborough.