Route De France 2010
Stage 6 - Armitstead wins final stage, van Vleuten takes overall.
Saint Die Des Vosges - Vittel 118 km
Lizzi Armistead (Cervelo Test Team) outsprinted Giorgia Bronzini (Gauss RDZ Ormu) and Lisa Brennauer (HITEC) to win the final stage into Vittel. Groups formed and breakaways were attempted on the finishing circuit, which was covered four times, but in the end it came down to a long, uphill sprint for the main group.
The parcours for the final stage was tough, with a long climb just after the start in Sanit Die. With only seconds separating first and third, it was always going to be exciting. There were a number of small breaks but what could have been the decisive break was one that included a large number of riders including, second place Judith Arndt (HTC Columbia) and third place, Olga Zabelinskaja (SAFI Pasta Zara formed on the decent of the first big climb of the day. Also there, amoungst others were: Charlotte Becker and Sarah Duester (Cervelo Test Team), Lisa Brennauer (HITEC), Edita Puchinskaite (Gauss RDZ Ormu) along with Arndt's team mates Emilia Fahlin and Luise Keller.
With race leader, Annemiek van Vleuten in the chasing group, her Nederland Bloeit team were forced to chase. The Dutch team worked hard to closed the gap on the breakaway group, they were constantly driving the pace at the front. The leaders had a maximum advantage of 1 minute 30 seconds before the gap started to come down. Although it held stable at around 50 seconds for over an hour.
With 38km to go the break was working well together, for Arndt it looked like her tactics had paid off and overall victory was within sight. Arndt started the day only 6 seconds behind van Vleuten and so became leader on the road. With Zabelinskaja also in the break and third on GC at 16 seconds, the break was dangerous for van Vleuten. Then disaster struck, Arndt punctured, the wheel change cost her time on the lead group and although they lost their momentum slightly, despite a huge effort, the German could not close the gap back to the leaders.
Nederland Bloeit were working hard at the front of the bunch and the gap came down and closed to 20 seconds on the leaders for several kilometres. Arndt could not get herself back in the lead group and was stuck between the two groups. She sat up as the chasing bunch closed in.
Several attacks were made on the run in to Vittel, but none was successful. Lizzie Armitstead (Cervelo Test Team) went early on the final lap and impressively managed to stay ahead for the stage win. Van Vleuten finished third in the sprint to win her first major tour. Her Nederland Bloeit team-mate, Marianne Vos celebrated as the GC winner crossed the line. Van Vleuten performed strongly all week to take, then defend the race lead and her team showed its depth by working for her successfully, especially on the final 2 stages.
Lizzi Armitstead won the Young Rider competition.
Lizzi Armitstead (Cervelo Test Team) was extremely pleased with her performance and overall position in the Route de France, “Sarah Düster was in a really good breakaway with Luise Keller (GER- HTC Columbia Women) the Safi rider Olga Zabelinskaia (RUS) brought the break back but it was really perfect riding from Sarah. Then when they came back I attacked but there were too many fresh girls ready for the sprint,” explained Armitstead after winning the stage.
“So I just held my position and Sarah, who is well known for how crazy she is in the corners, did a really good technical finish with three corners in the 750 meters. She went into the last corner full gas. I lost her wheel a little bit but it was also a little early so it was good and then there was nobody so I thought I’ll take this corner and take on the sprint a little bit early and see what happens and it worked. Winning today is really good for my confidence. I’ve been coming closer each day and I needed a hard day like today, the team was really perfect," added Armitstead.
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