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Kopecky clinches victory at opening stage of 2024 Lloyds Bank Tour of Britain Women

Kopecky clinches victory at opening stage of 2024 Lloyds Bank Tour of Britain Women

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World champion Lotte Kopecky stormed to the opening stage win of the 2024 Lloyds Bank Tour of Britain Women in a tight sprint finish against Letizia Paternoster in Llandudno.

Kopecky put her rainbow stripes on show with a fantastic display of power to take the first stage win, having tackled 142.4km from Welshpool to Llandudno and 2,276m of climbing.

Departing from Welshpool’s Broad Street in the heart of mid-Wales, Josie Talbot (Cofidis) made the first significant move of the day, before an attack from Christine Majerus (SD Worx – Protime) closed the gap.

Reaching the foothills of the first Queen of the Mountains, the formidable Llangynog climb averaging 5.3%, Connie Hayes (Doltcini O’Shea) launched the first move to increase the pace up the 6.1km climb, before being marked by Elena Cecchini (SD Worx-Protime). A furious display of power from Heidi Franz (Lifeplus Wahoo) saw her take the first maximum points.

Sprint finish on stage one of 2024 Lloyds Bank Tour of Britain Women

A small but strong group of riders, including Katia Ragusa (Human Powered Health), Millie Couzens (Great Britain Cycling Team), Amber Pate (Liv Alula Jayco), Valeria Demey (Volkerwessels Pro Cycling Team), Barbara Guarischi (SD Worx-Protime) and Franziska Koch (Team DSM-Firmenich PostNL), took the lead with 70km remaining and forced a gap on the main peloton.

National Road Series leader Lucy Harris (Pro-Noctis-200 ° Coffee-Hargreaves Contracting) went off the front, powering her way to a lead of up to a minute, which was enough to earn her the Combativity Award, before Elinor Barker’s (Great Britain Cycling Team) injection of pace from the peloton saw her caught up the second Queen of the Mountains, Ty’n y Llidiart.

Pfeiffer Georgi (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL) put in a huge kick approaching the top of the climb, but the national champion was chased by the Great Britain Cycling Team, with Lizzie Deignan taking the Queen of the Mountain ahead of teammate Anna Henderson.

The British duo continued to push over the top of the climb along with Letizia Paternoster (Liv-Alula-Jayco), Georgi, Kopecky, Majerus, Victore Guilman (St Michel – Mavic – Auber93), Ruby Roseman-Gannon (Liv-Alula-Jayco) and Eline Jansen (Volkerwessels Women’s Pro Cycling Team), taking a lead of a minute and 14 seconds.

In-race action on stage one of the 2024 Lloyds Bank Tour of Britain Women

The intermediate sprint of the day saw Paternoster outsprint Kopecky for the bonus seconds in their first battle of the day, as the nine-strong group racked up a three-minute lead with just 10km remaining.

As the riders came into Llandudno’s promenade, it all led down to a tight sprint finish, with Kopecky firing on all cylinders before Paternoster wrestled the world champion to the line. A tense photo finish gave Kopecky the win ahead of the Italian, as Georgi finished in third and Deignan in fourth.

Speaking on her win, Kopecky said:

“I’m not sure if I won and it took quite a while before we found out that I won, so it was a nice final finish. At moments it felt pretty slow because of the wind, however, I’m happy that I could get a break in the final climb.”

Deignan said:

“I was happy with my form today. It was a strange race, almost nothing and everything. We would have liked moments of attack in the final finish, but with the headwinds stretch and the launchpads, we just had to do what we could. I think moving forward it will be a really open race, so hopefully a big breakaway could go, and we can use some of our other ideas and take other opportunities.”

Kopecky’s win puts her at the top of general classification and sprinter’s jersey, while her team DS Worx-ProTime sit in the lead for the team classification. Georgi’s podium finish granted her the Best of British jersey, while Deignan’s climbing antics was enough to secure the Queen of the Mountains category. 22-year-old Jansen finished in fifth place to secure the young rider’s jersey.

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