TOUR DE FRANCE FEMMES 2022 | STAGE 5 | BAR-LE-DUC > SAINT-DIÉ-DES-VOSGES
SAINT-DIÉ-DES-VOSGES (July 28, 2022) — Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) displayed again her pure speed as she sprinted to a second stage win in the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, in Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, four days after she took the first Maillot Jaune in Paris. The Dutch sprinter put a significant distance between her and the World champion Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo), 2nd ahead of Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma), who slightly increased her GC lead with the time bonuses. On the longest stage of the race, the early attackers survived until they were caught inside the last 3km. They will try again to upset the peloton on Friday with a rolling course towards Rosheim.
The longest route of the week doesn’t deter early attackers. The battle is on from the start in Bar-le-Duc and it takes almost 30km for the situation to settle with a 4-woman breakaway at the front.
A big battle and a significant gap
Emily Newsom (EF Education-Tibco-SVB) and Anya Louw (AG Insurance-NXTG) launch the key move at km 13.5. With other teams, and most notably Human Powered Health, willing to make the break, they struggle to open up a significant gap.
Victoire Berteau (Cofidis) and Antri Christoforou (Human Powered Health) join them at the front and the gap increases to a minute at km 27. It reaches a maximum of 3’45’’ atop the first climb of the day, the cat-4 Côte de Pagny-la-Blanche-Côte (km 61.4), where Berteau takes the first QOM points of the day.
Norsgaard Bjerg abandons after a crash
Team DSM are the first team involved in controlling the gap, with Franziska Koch. Leah Thomas (Trek-Segafredo) also moves to the front of the bunch as the race enters the last 50km with a gap of 2’ from the early attackers to the peloton.
A mass crash involves a few dozens of riders with 46km to go. Among them, Emma Norsgaard Bjerg (Movistar) is forced to abandon. Lotte Kopecky and Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (SD Worx) are also involved, with the latter suffering an injury to the right arm.
Wiebes doubles up
The situation returns to normal and the gap drops down to under 1 minute inside the last 25km. Berteau attacks with 21.5km to go, towards the Bonus point of the day. Only Christoforou can follow her, while Louw and Newsom are reeled in by the pack.
Victoire Berteau: “I really gave everything, I have no regrets. It was 150 km of pleasure, and everywhere on the side of the road people were saying: ‘Allez Victoire.’ And that motivated me even more. I wanted to make the breakaway even though I knew it was going to be a sprint, but now I define myself more as an attacker so it's stages like that that might suit me better than a bunch sprint. The DS told me: ‘Today you can take your chance in the breakaway, it can go to the end.’ I had time to believe in it. But when Trek moved, they were not gifting anything. It's something huge to be in the lead on the Tour de France. I heard the DS say at 2:10 p.m.: ‘Okay, the TV is on!’ I did not think I could go until the last 2km. This is something really big.”
Berteau and Christoforou hold on to a gap of 40’’ with 10km to go, and 20’’ under the 5km to go banner. They are eventually caught inside the last 3km. Trek-Segafredo try to set Elisa Balsamo for the win but Elisa Longo Borghini takes a wrong turn inside the last kilometre. It doesn’t unsettle Wiebes, who takes off to victory with two bike lengths between her and Balsamo. Vos rounds out the podium.
Lorena Wiebes: “It was a pretty chaotic finale. We aimed for the u-turn with 1.7km to go and Pfeiffer [Georgi] brought me safe to the good wheels. We had a lot of speed into that corner and I lost my back wheel a bit but I could hold my bike, I was still in a good position out of the corner and then I was able to react to the girls coming from behind and to ride the sprint as I wanted to. I think it was the longest race I ever did. If you add up the neutral, it’s almost 180km, I didn’t even do that in training. The team took great control and Franziska Koch did a great job. I felt a bit of pressure when I saw it and it was maybe the last opportunity for me. I’m very happy I took it, it was a real team effort.”
Marianne Vos: “The sprint went pretty well. We wanted to be in the front in the final u-turn with 1.7km to go. We knew that was going to be very important and we wanted to stay out of trouble. There was a bit of confusion when Elisa Longo Borghini went left but luckily things went well and when Lorena Wiebes opened up her sprint, she was just the fastest. We did what we could, getting 3rd and keeping yellow, it's a good day. I expect some fireworks tomorrow, but we’ve seen that every day. We’ll try do our best again and of course with the yellow jersey you want to give it all you have.”
Femke Gerritse: “I hoped I would be in the break and take some points but they didn’t let me. After the first climb I knew I still had the jersey tomorrow so it was celebration time! Today I received more congratulations from the peloton because yesterday was chaotic. Today was easier so they came to me, they told me: ‘It looks good on you’. The dream is to wear it on Saturday, because then you can ride the Grand Ballon with this jersey. That would be very nice.”