The first stage of the inaugural Women’s Tour of Britain ended in a sprint finish with Sweden’s Emma Johansson claiming a narrow victory over Olympic champion Marianne Vos and GB’s Hannah Barnes in a time of 2hr 18’ 29”. Despite looking to have a strong enough lead at the 500m mark GB’s Lizzie Armitstead lost her legs to the group by starting her sprint too early and finished back in eighth. GB Team Pursuit Olympic Gold Medallists Dani King and Laura Trott finished down in 29th and 38th respectively.
Commenting on the judgement that cost her the win Armitstead said: ‘Coming around that bottom corner there were massive crowds and as a British girl I got over-excited and went for it. I started far too early, Emma Johansson was on my wheel and she won, so I gave her the perfect lead-out basically… I’m confident that I’m in sprinting shape. I just wasn’t clever enough…’ Despite taking eighth on the day, Armitstead actually sits at sixth in the General Classifications having picked up a two seconds bonus in a YodelDirect Sprint; she was also awarded the Best British Jersey.
The Women’s Tour of Britain – more correctly called The Friends Life Women’s Tour – sees a total of 96 elite riders, representing 11 of the top 14 professional women’s teams, battle it out in Britain across five days, ending on Sunday May 11 in Bury St Edmunds. Daily TV highlights in the UK are on ITV4 at 8pm; for further information on the Women’s Tour of Britain see thetour.co.uk