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Elisa Balsamo wins Suffolk stage of the Women's Tour in Felixstowe while Emi Vollering takes overall title



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Demi Vollering (SD Worx) clinched overall victory in the AJ Bell Women’s Tour, Britain’s biggest professional women’s race, as World road race champion Elisa Balsamo (Valcar – Travel & Service) clinched the final stage in Suffolk yesterday – her first in the rainbow jersey.

Balsamo headed home Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) and Chloe Hosking (Trek-Segafredo) in front of packed crowds along Felixstowe’s seafront basking in the October sunshine, for the win in her final race of 2021.

“To win in this jersey is amazing – it was the perfect day,” said Balsamo. “My team did a really great lead-out for me.”

AJ Bell Women's Tour overall general classification winner Demi Vollering of Team SD Worx in front of he Felixstowe Pier Picture: Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com
AJ Bell Women's Tour overall general classification winner Demi Vollering of Team SD Worx in front of he Felixstowe Pier Picture: Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com

“We knew we were strong in the sprints but today was perfect. It’s wonderful. This was my first time at this race but I will definitely come here again!”

Vollering finished safely within the main field to celebrate the overall victory by one minute and two seconds over Juliette Labous (Team DSM), with Clara Copponi (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) a further three seconds in arrears.

The win is Vollering’s first UCI Women’s WorldTour stage race victory and comes in a season where she has also won the prestigious single day races Liege-Bastogne-Liege and La Course.

“It feels great. It’s really nice to win a stage race for the first time,” said Vollering.

Elisa Balsamo of Team Valcar Travel & Service celebrating her win on stage six of The AJ Bell Women's Tour in Felixstowe Picture: Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com
Elisa Balsamo of Team Valcar Travel & Service celebrating her win on stage six of The AJ Bell Women's Tour in Felixstowe Picture: Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com

“I made a big gap in the time trial and then the last three days were flat so we tried to sprint for Amy (Pieters) and then we only needed to control it.

"It was a good week and really nice with a lot of people next to the road. It is always nice to see so many people into women’s cycling.”

The day, which began in Haverhill, was marked by a five-rider escape started by Eugenia Bujak (Alé BTC Ljubljana), containing Ana Santesteban (Team BikeExchange), Dani Christmas (Drops Le Col s/b TEMPUR), Sofia Bertizzolo (Liv Racing) and Veronica Ewers (Team TIBCO Silicon Valley Bank).

The quintet built a lead of just over three minutes, making Santesteban the virtual leader on the road, but a combination of Vollering’s SD Worx’s squad and the other teams working towards the sprint pulled things back to set up the fast finish in Felixstowe.

Once again the Valcar – Travel & Service team performed an excellent lead-out after having gone close in previous days, but this time the World Champion was able to cap the team performance and round out the AJ Bell Women’s Tour with a win.

Behind, Wiebes took second to secure the Sigma Sports Points jersey thanks to her brace of stage wins, with Hosking taking another top three position.

Elise Chabbey (Canyon SRAM Racing) won the ŠKODA Queen of the Mountains jersey for the best climber in the race while having taken the Eisberg Sprints jersey on day one in Oxfordshire, Nina Kessler (Team TIBCO Silicon Valley Bank) held on to the red jersey.

Alice Barnes (Canyon SRAM Racing) was the top British rider in seventh overall and one of three Brits in the top 10 with Pfieffer Georgi (Team DSM) in eighth, and Joss Lowden (Drops Le Col s/b Tempur) in 10th. There was further success for British riders with Hayley Simmonds (CAMS Basso) taking the Combativity Award after her tenacious stage five ride, while SD Worx clinched the team classification.

Click here for full results from stage six and the final overall standings, presented by Brother UK.

The next edition of the AJ Bell Women’s Tour takes place between Monday, June 6 and Saturday, June 11, 2022.

The AJ Bell Women’s Tour is sponsored by AJ Bell, one of the UK’s leading online investment platforms, helping people invest for the long term via ISAs, pensions and general investment accounts. It has a rich history of supporting elite level sport including badminton, cricket, rugby, squash and triathlon, and recently sponsored the men’s AJ Bell Tour of Britain in September, won by Wout van Aert.

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