Clara Copponi has won stage one of the Women’s Tour with a sprint finish on Angel Hill. This was the French cyclists’ first win of this year having not been on the podium until today. The 23 year-old was delighted with her performance today saying “I’m so excited, I’ve been waiting for that since the beginning of the season and last year… my best result this year is fourth so it is very exciting and I am super happy”.
After the race Copponi was rewarded with a bottle of a magnum of Champagne, which she sprayed into the crowd, and a bunch of flowers. The stop, also known as a neutralisation, in the race due to a crash ahead of the racers halted the rhythm of the cyclists, however, Copponi said she wasn’t affected by the neutralisation saying “I feel good directly, I was ready for the sprint”.
Local girl Dani Shrobsbree held the lead for the majority of the race, extending it to one minute and 10 seconds around forty kilometers from the finish line on Angel Hill. Copponi seemed giddy at dragging back the lead Shrobsbree managed to gain saying “I am so happy”
Finishing on the cobbles on Angel Hill the now yellow jersey wearer said “it was a beautiful finish and with the cobbles it’s crazy”.
The Women’s Tour will now move onto Harlow where the cyclists will partake in a circular route of ninety kilometres almost half of the first stage which was one-hundred-and-forty-two kilometres from Colchester to Bury St Edmunds. Then on Wednesday the tour moves to Tewkesbury going to Gloucester. Stage four will start at Wrexham and finish in Welshpool and is the first of two Welsh races. Stage five will start in Pembery Country Park and end at the summit of The Black Mountain. The final stage will begin in Chipping Norton and finish in Oxford.
By Alasdair English