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RideLondon Classique stage 3: Lorena Wiebes completes a hat-trick of sprint wins

DSM rider wins all three stages and overall.

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Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) sprinted to a third and final victory in London on stage 3 of the RideLondon Classique.

The Dutch rider wins the overall ahead of Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) in second place and Emma Norsgaard (Movistar) in third.

After a fast and hectic day of racing that saw multiple attacks over the 80km course, Ally Wollaston (AG Insurance-NXTG) was the last surviving attacker, but the race came back together for an expected bunch sprint.

Also read: RideLondon Classique stage 2: Lorena Wiebes sprints to second consecutive win

How it happened

Stage 3 of the RideLondon Classique took place on a fast and technical circuit around central London in a course that was designed for the purest of sprinters. Racing around Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, the final stage took in 85km of racing before finishing on the embankment of the River Thames.

The short stage started in a predictably fast fashion, with leader Wiebes’ DSM team and Movistar controlling the pace on the front of the bunch. Several riders saw themselves dropped very early on in the race, including world champion Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) and best young rider Vittoria Guazzini (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope). Balsamo rejoined the peloton, but Guazzini retired from the race.

Whilst stages 1 and 2 had seen just two solo escapes, the breakaway attempts came thick and fast on the roads of central London. After Guazzini’s abandon, Brodie Chapman (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope) attacked the bunch in the opening laps, and was joined by Julia Borgström (AG Insurance-NXTG Racing) and Anastasia Carbonari (Valcar Travel & Service). Chapman’s time in the break was short-lived, though, and she was replaced by a counter-attack from Amber Kraak (Jumbo Visma).

This trio stayed away through the first intermediate sprint of the day after 25km completed, with Carbonari narrowly beating Borgström to take maximum points but it made little difference to Wiebes’ significant lead in the classification. In the peloton, SD Worx drove hard to stretch out the bunch, with Kopecky and Reusser rotating powerful turns on the front. Their efforts were enough to catch the peloton, and the race was back together with 50km remaining.

After the catch, there was a brief lull in the racing, but the attacks started again going into the final 40km. Jade Wiel (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope) and Simone Boilard (St Michel-Auber 93) both spent brief stints off the front, but UAE Team ADQ in particular were keen to shut moves down. All was together at the second intermediate sprint, and despite Valcar’s best efforts to lead out the sprint for Chiara Consonni, it was Balsamo who took maximum points.

With 25km remaining, some splits started in the peloton as the pressure rose with the finish coming closer. AG Insurance-NXTG repeatedly attacked, and it was a move from Ally Wollaston that stuck, joined by Krista Doebel-Hickok (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB). The pair had a lead of 20 seconds with 16km remaining. Wollaston dropped Doebel-Hickok going into the final lap, with the American soon caught by the chasing peloton while Wollaston held a slender lead of nine seconds.

As the sprinters’ teams ramped up their chase behind, Wollaston was caught with 8km remaining. In the long finishing straight along the river, it was an uncomplicated sprint and Charlotte Kool executed the perfect lead-out to deliver Wiebes to a third imperious victory. Balsamo crossed the line in second, while Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) picked up her first podium of the weekend in third.

Wiebes’ hat-trick of wins secured her the overall and the points classification victory. Stage 1 attacker Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma) took home the Queen of the Mountains jersey and the best British rider award. After Guazzini’s abandon, twelfth-placed on the stage and early attacker Julia Borgström won the young rider classification after an active race for AG Insurance-NXTG Racing.