Marianne Vos wins the Friends Life Women's Tour of Britain after winning the final stage in a race which the Dutch rider has controlled from stage three.
The victory finished off an impressive tour for Vos who had won the last two previous stages building up a lead of 19 seconds on her nearest rival Emma Johansson. With only 16 bonus seconds available from the intermediate sprints and finish, it was unlikely anyone would challenge her.
Vos sprinted to victory ahead of Wiggle-Honda's Giorgia Bronzini, with fellow Dutch rider Amy Pieters finishing third.
The World Road Race champion praised her team-mates for their hard work as well as admitting she felt good coming into the first ever Friends Life Women's Tour.
According to Cycling Weekly, Vos said: “The team did a lot of work from 25 or 30 kilometres, so that’s why you definitely want to go for the third victory.
“The plan was to have a good break, maybe with one of us in, or to control from behind. It’s the best feeling when you are in yellow and your five teammates make an echelon and they can control the breakaway.
“I was in front with my eye on Emma, of course she attacked, but I knew from the book they were fast final kilometres. There were a lot of riders wanting to go for the stage win to, so it came to a sprint again.”
“I came here with a good feeling but still you have some doubts. I’ve seen Emma Johansson, Lizzie Armitstead and Giorgia Bronzini racing strong, and we knew it was going to be a hard battle and a close call between all the teams.
“It’s nice to win the first ever Friends Life Women’s Tour.
“This race is setting the standard for every other now, there’s no race that can match the organisation, the attention or the crowds. It’s really big already, but it was the first time and I think it has a bright future.”
Vos managed to extend her lead at the end of stage five by picking up the 10 bonus seconds available for winning the stage. This took her overall lead to 30 seconds in a race which she was always favourite to win.
The 26 year old believes the women's Tour means a lot to cycling and Vos stated that she enjoys racing in Britain.
The Olympic Road Race champion said, according to BBC Sport: "I have won many titles before, and some gold medals, but this women's Tour is really special because it means so much to women's cycling.
"The pressure was really on but the team did such a great job to keep me in the race.
"I have good memories of Great Britain with the Olympics, but these crowds really made a difference."
Lizzie Armitstead fell ill before the start of the final stage and was unable to compete leaving two time World Junior Champion Lucy Garner to receive the best placed British rider jersey after finishing seventh overall.
Hannah Barnes had an impressive end to the tour coming fourth in today's stage, leaving her eighth overall on the same time as Garner.
Garner was happy to win the jersey but felt sorry for Armitstead.
The 19 year old said: "I am really proud to be wearing the best British rider jersey, especially racing on home soil, but it is a shame Lizzie couldn't carry on because of illness.
"It has been amazing; the racing, the crowds and support have been beyond anything I have ever seen before."
Another Brit, Sharon Laws, won the Queen of the Mountains jersey which she had worn since stage one.
Stage five result
1 Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabo-Liv, 2:48:10
2 Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda, st
3 Amy Pieters (Ned) Netherlands, st
4 Hannah Barnes (GB) UnitedHealthcare, st
5 Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS, st
6 Elena Cecchini (Ita) Estado de Mexico-Faren Kuota, st
7 Chloe Hosking (Aus) HPU,st
8 Aude Biannic (Fra) Lointek, st
9 Elise Delzenne (Fra) SLU, st
10 Leah Kirchman (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, st
1 Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabo-Liv, 12:42.07
2 Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS, +30secs
3 Rossella Ratto (Ita) Estado de Mexico-Faren Kuota, +35
4 Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda, +38
5 Susanna Zorzi (Ita) Astana BePink, +44
6 Amy Pieters (Ned) Netherlands, +50
7 Lucy Garner (GB) Giant-Shimano, same time
8 Hannah Barnes (GB) UnitedHealthcare, st
9 Lauren Hall (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, st
10 Elena Cecchini (Ita) Estado de Mexico-Faren Kuota, st
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