With a skilful descent, Kasia Niewiadoma seized her opportunity to take the lead in the general classification on the penultimate stage today of the Tour de l’Ardeche in Montboucher-sur-Jabron. After her stage victory yesterday, Niewiadoma again proved her form remains strong despite five tough days of racing.
The CANYON//SRAM Racing rider went clear on the final descent of the stage and, with only Ruth Winder (Team USA) able to match her skill, the duo powered away to the finish line. While Winder took the stage win, Niewiadoma moved into the pink leader’s jersey with one stage remaining.
“Today’s stage wasn’t as hard as previous days but still we had to put in a lot of effort. I knew that the climbs wouldn’t be ideal to drop the race leader (Margarita Garcia) so I tried my chance on the descent,” admitted Niewiadoma after the stage.
“I was focused on every corner, trying to go through as quick and smooth as possible. I wasn’t thinking about what’s coming behind me, I was just thinking about what’s coming ahead!”
“The last 6km were pretty flat so I was happy to have Ruth with me because together we could push really hard to gain some precious seconds on my competitors,” said an excited Niewiadoma.
After her own victory on the opening stage, Alexis Ryan has been assigned the task of helping Niewiadoma as the tour moved into the queen stages.
“Today was another perfect execution of the team plan! I was by Kasia’s side all day and closed or covered all threatening moves. After Kasia’s attack on the descent, her and Ruth were riding hard to the finish, while the group I was with had a disorganised chase. Kasia’s sizeable lead in the general classification is exactly what we planned for, and will defend with everything we have during the final stage,” said Ryan.
It capped off a successful day for CANYON//SRAM Racing as Tanja Erath reclaimed the Rush Classification jersey with a three-point lead going into the final stage in Privas.
“It wasn’t easy as there were attacks flying in the early part of the race. Leah (Thorvilson) helped me to close the gaps so I was able to conserve my energy to take full points and win the first intermediate sprint!” smiled Erath after the podium.
The final stage may be just 90km long but with 1700m elevation, the battle for the overall win of Tour de l’Ardeche is set to be an exciting finale. Racing starts at 13:30 CEST.