Yellow jersey holder Marianne Vos of Jumbo-Visma timed her sprint to perfection to win Stage 6 of the inaugural women’s Tour de France on Friday and extend her lead at the top of the general classification.
Stage 5 was a hilly, 129-kilometre course from Saint-Die-des-Vosges to Rosheim and Vos’s Jumbo-Visma teammates positioned themselves in the front with 2 kilometres to go.
As the group sprinted to the finish, Vos accelerated and took the lead with 250 metres to go and eventually pipped Italian Marta Bastianelli of UAE Team ADQ by a mere bike length to win the stage.
Vos, who now leads Silvia Persico and Katarzyna Niewiadoma by 30 seconds in the general classification, praised her team for setting up victory.
“In the final [stretch] they did a perfect job to keep me in the front and [kept] the speed high until the last corners, then I was in a good position,” Vos said.
“But I felt I was [under pressure] from the back, so I hoped I could keep it until the line … I couldn’t excel more but I hoped it was enough.”
Lorena Wiebes, who won the first and fifth stages, crashed on a descent to fall behind but the Dutchwoman dusted herself off to get back on her bike and catch up despite a cut on her elbow and scrapes on her hip.
Wiebes was one of the favourites to win the stage but the crash meant she eventually finished nearly eight minutes behind, giving Vos a healthy 76-point lead in the green jersey standings as well.
Lotte Kopecky was also involved in the crash but she fought bravely to catch up and eventually finished third.
“Not feeling like I was able to sprint full out. I didn’t have the space and had to hold back a few times,” she said.
“Too bad, because I could have finished [better] in the results. All went well until I got trapped in the last S-curve.”
The last two stages will be in the mountains with Saturday’s Stage 7 a 127.1-kilometre ride from Sélestat to Le Markstein Fellering in the Vosges mountains.