Alex Manly (BikeExchange-Jayco) got through a hilly day to sprint to second on stage 3 of the Women’s Tour, beaten only by Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) in Gloucester.
After dominating the 2.Pro Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour at the end of May, winning four out of six stages and the overall title, Manly showed she could contend in a WorldTour sprint too on Wednesday.
“To get second to Lorena, I’m pretty happy with that, she’s the fastest person in the world,” Manly said. “Georgia [Williams] and Kristen [Faulkner] did an amazing lead out, and I was then able to surf the wheels after that.
“It was a good day for the team, everyone played a good part and we’re really happy.”
Also read: Lorena Wiebes wins stage 3 in Gloucester
When the peloton split over the Speech House climb, Manly was able to follow the likes of Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (SD Worx) and Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM), a strong ride for the sprinter.
“I was pretty happy to be there,” Manly said about the split. “We had Kristen and I knew that we had it covered if anybody went, but also we wanted to see if Kristen could get away, because she’s really, really strong.”
As well as Faulkner’s attempts to attack the leading group, Manly herself was aggressive, with the BikeExchange-Jayco team trying to make the race hard.
“It was good to be there, and have it covered if it stayed away and we had Georgia in the group behind coming back, so it was a good situation for us.”
In the closing kilometers of the race, BikeExchange-Jayco was one of a small handful of teams to still have an organized lead-out train, with Faulkner and Williams on the front for Manly.
Though their efforts weren’t enough to better Team DSM and stage winner Wiebes, sports director Martin Vestby described the result as “almost like a victory” after an active day for the team.
“It was a good stage, there was a lot more action,” Manly concluded. “I think people wanted to drop Lorena, but it didn’t happen in the end. Now we’ll just see how it goes for the rest of the race and take it day by day.”
Manly sits in third overall going into stage 4, 13 seconds down on Wiebes.