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Amy Pieters claims second stage sprint as Clara Copponi takes race lead

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Tuesday, October 5, stage two – Walsall to Walsall, 102.2km

British rider Pfeiffer Georgi (Team DSM) narrowly failed to land what would have been a famous victory on stage two of the AJ Bell Women’s Tour as Amy Pieters (SD Worx) claimed victory in a sprint in Walsall.

Georgi was part of a 10-rider group who broke clear inside the final 10 kilometers of racing and led through the last turn onto Lichfield Street, finishing straight. But with only a handful of meters’ of advantage over the fast-charging Pieters and Clara Copponi (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope), she was unable to hang on, eventually finishing fifth.

It was still an encouraging performance from the 21-year-old, who was singled out for praise by Lizzie Deignan after doing a sterling job to protect her at the world championship road race in Flanders last month. Deignan described Georgi as “probably the best team GB teammate I’ve ever had”.

Pieters ultimately claimed the fourth AJ Bell Women’s Tour stage victory of her career, though, with Copponi moving into the race lead thanks to her second place.

Overnight race leader Marta Bastianelli (Alé BTC Ljubljana) finished in the peloton, 46 seconds behind the leaders, and conceded the blue leader’s jersey to Capponi, who is making her debut in the race in 2021.

“It was a hectic final”, said Pieters, who had teammate Demi Vollering, one of the race favorites, working for her in the run-in. “I think the whole day was pretty hectic. There was still a small gap after the last corner, but I thought I just needed to sprint. It was an urgent sprint, but it went well at the end.”

Wednesday’s third stage is the race’s first-ever individual time trial. It takes over a 16.6-kilometer (10.3-mile) course starting and finishing in Atherstone town center in North Warwickshire.

Marta Bastianelli of Italy and Team Ale’ Btc Ljubljana celebrates winning ahead of Chloe Hosking of Australia and Team Trek – Segafredo and Clara Copponi of France and Team FDJ Nouvelle – Aquitaine Futuroscope during the 7th The Women’s Tour 2021 – Stage 1, a 147,7km stage from Bicester to Banbury – GETTY IMAGES.

Monday, October 4, stage one – Bicester to Banbury, 147.7km

Italy’s former world champion Marta Bastianelli won a dramatic sprint finish to take the opening stage of the Women’s Tour of Britain in Banbury as Britain’s Hannah Barnes (Canyon-Sram) finished sixth.

A large group of riders approached the finish line in a pack, and 2007 road race world champion Bastianelli of Alé BTC Ljubljana managed to pass Chloe Hosking (Trek-Segafredo) and FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope’s Clara Copponi in sight of the line to take the win and the race’s first leader’s jersey of 2021.

“It’s a very nice win for me,” Bastianelli said of her first Women’s Tour stage victory. “The sprint was not easy because it is a little bit tougher and uphill, and I think it is not for the sprinters, but for me, it is a good race and a good day.

“There was a crash with one kilometer to go, and luckily I did not crash, but I am sorry for those that did. I started the sprint in the third position, and for me, it was the maximum because my coach has seen me win sprints from there.”

As well as Barnes in the sixth, fellow Briton Josie Nelson (Coop-Hitec Products) also made the top 10, finishing eighth, while compatriot Joss Lowden (Drops–Le Col) was 23rd.

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