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The sixth stage of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwit was billed as one for the pure sprinters. However, for the second day in a row, the breakaway defied the bunch to take the win. Audrey Cordon-Ragot was the team’s first finisher, with Barbara Malcotti still our highest-placed GC in 26th overall.
Starting in Albi, which was also yesterday’s finish town, today saw the riders set off towards Blagnac, a suburb on the outskirts of Toulouse. It was another extremely hot day with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees centigrade, amplifying the intensity of the constant efforts required to stay with the fast-rolling peloton.
It was a fast start once again with various riders trying to force a break. Eventually, three riders managed to get clear with the eventual stage winner, Emma Norsgaard of Movistar, being the key component.
Back in the peloton it was a day for Cordon-Ragot and Barbara Malcotti to just follow the wheels and stay safe heading into the monster ‘Queen Stage’ tomorrow. Henrietta Christie and Eri Yonamine played a key role in protecting them all day.
Unfortunately, it was not meant to be for our sprinter Marjolein van ‘t Geloof who, with support from Alice Barnes and Antri Christoforou, gave her all. The pace in the front was too intense for our Dutchie to make it back to the peloton after being distanced on the run-in.
Team sports director, Joanne Kiesanowski said: “A day for the sprinters but denied in the end. We kept Barbara safe for tomorrow avoiding a few crashes today in the peloton.”
“Everyone has been looking forward to tackling the famous Aspin/Tourmalet combination since the route was announced. Now the time has come to show off all the hard training and give 110%. We support Barbara all the way tomorrow.”