Lizzie Armitstead wins The Women's Tour

Lizzie Armitstead wins The Women's Tour

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Lizzie Armitstead clinched overall victory in the 2016 Aviva Women's Tour, finishing safely in the bunch in 14th position at the end of the 113-kilometre Northamptonshire stage as Finland's Lotta Lepistö took the final stage win in Kettering from a group of seven riders.

In the end Armitstead's winning margin was 11-seconds over Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, courtesy of three bonus seconds picked up at the day's opening Chain Reaction Cycle sprint, with Wiggle HIGH5 rider Elisa Longo Borghini a further two seconds in arrears.

Armitstead also clinched the Adnams Best British Rider Jersey as the highest placed Brit, with a 53-second advantage over 2012 Olympic Gold medallist Dani King.

The victory will also move Armitstead up to second in the standings of the UCI Women's WorldTour, behind her teammate Megan Guarnier.

Lizzie Armitstead claims The Women's Tour trophy

The world champion said: "What a fantastic team performance it's been. We had quite a lot of pressure on us today with the team performing so well all week I couldn't let them down really so I'm relieved and happy that I did it for them."

With the break of seven at one stage having in excess of four minutes, Armitstead admitted some nerves, but once again took the opportunity to praise her team.

"Probably from me, but not from the girls around me, they kept a cool head and Chantal [Blaak] said "We can close that if we want to".

"It was still hard, although probably one of the easier days of the tour so far which meant we could control it and bring it to a sprint which is what we wanted.

"Being a British athlete I feel so lucky to be a part of a country that loves cycling at the moment and I hope that that bubble continues.  My teammates say "Lizzie, why is it so popular here?" and I don't really know the answer, but events like this certainly help keep the ball rolling.”

A day long breakaway of seven riders contested the finish, as the Boels Dolmans led bunch just misjudged their catch, coming into Kettering 15-seconds behind the group, which Lepistö led home.

The high-class group of seven, including Italian national champion Elena CecchinI and 2007 World Road Race Champion Marta Bastianelli, built a lead in excess of 4-minutes, but it was driven down by a combination of Boels Dolmans at the front of the peloton and an eventual lack of cooperation in the front group.

The Women's Tour winner - Lizzie Armitstead

With Moolman-Pasio failing to score on the opening Strava Queen of the Mountains climb near Daventry, Katie Hall of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling secured the jersey.

Having won Stage Four on Saturday, Marianne Vos couldn't reduce Armitstead's lead any further and had to settle for the Chain Reaction Cycles Points Jersey after a remarkable run of consistent finishes, ending each stage in the top five, barring the final day's tenth place.

Vos' compatriot Floortje Mackaij saw her lead in the Best Young Rider Jersey presented by Stoke-on-Trent, European City of Sport reduced thanks to teammate Molly Weaver's presence in the break, but not by enough for the white jersey to change shoulders.  The win in that classification also helps Mackaij in the season-long UCI Women's WorldTour young rider classification, with her edging closer to current leader Katarzyna Niewiadoma.

Having twice won a stage combativity award, Ale Cipollini's Emilia Fahlin won the overall combativity award, while Wiggle HIGH5 beat Boels Dolmans to the team classification title by the narrowest of margins.

Jessie Walker was the best of the finishers in Great Britain Cycling Team colours, taking 46th place in the same group as Lizzie Armitstead.

Emma Pooley was the highest ranked Great Britain Cycling Team rider across the five stages in 45th place, just over 16 minutes behind Armitstead.

Results

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