With the Womens Tour of Britain under way, VAVEL UK puts the spotlight on the Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team with a round up of the first three stages.
In the opening stage, as the peleton split around the centre of Norwich, the former two-time road world champion Giorgia Bronzini crossed the line third. With a crash at the 1km to go stage the Wiggle High5 Pro cycling team plan started to look a little lost. Bronzini's team mate, Jolien D'Hoore, was riding for her but Bronzini lost her wheel when pushed by another rider and the Italian decided she needed to use break.
The team plan for the first stage was that if it involved a sprint the Italian would take responsibility and with a third place finish, it worked well. The route was mostly flat on around Norfolk and several small groups tried to make breakaways.
However, the only sucessful one was by Alison Tetrick who managed to go alone at 21km to go. The American managed to get a lead of nearly two minutes before the chasing group reacted. The rest of the group chased Tetrick down, with 1km to go a crash involved a lot of the big names, but all of the Wiggle High5 riders crossed the line safely.
The second stage had the typical 'British weather' thrown in for the riders to contend with. As the riders arrived towards the finish in Stratford-Upon-Avon the heavens opened. Amy Pieters was the strongest of a 27-rider leading group on the finishing straight in the birthplace of William Shakespeare.
The Dutch rider took the win by just half a wheel in a very close finish. Pieters was originally going to help Bronzini on the stage, in an effort to increase the placing, however the Dutch rider ended up breaking away herself to steal the win.
Although this stage had more hills than the first, the pace of the riders meant that it was difficult for anyone to breakaway, the only really sucessful break came inside the final 30km with two riders pulling clear. Having built up nearly a one minute lead, the two were caught with just under 20km to go. The pace of the chasing pack up the second climb enabled the group of 27 to go clear.
Nine Wiggle High5 pro riders were within that group with Pieters making the sprint finish and claim her first ever womans tour of britain win.
The stage between Ashbourne and Chesterfield produced yet another podium finish for the Black & Orange of Team Wiggle High5. Elisa Longo Borghini finished just behind Lizzie Armistead & Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio. The shorter 109km stage proved a challenge as it was much hillier than the previous stages. The Italian who is a climber and classics specialist joined a breakaway on the second half of the of the stage.
D'hoore was in a breakaway group of 11 riders, and once again was working hard for her team-mate. Borhini managed to bridge the gap to the group and stay with the leaders. When Armistead attacked towards the end, the Italian was part of the four riders that went with her. A sprint towards the end settled the places with the Italian finishing behind the home favourite Armistead who won the stage and Moolman-Pasio.
The podium finish for the Wiggle High5 rider ensured that the team had finished ever stage so far with a rider on the steps.