Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) now has 13 rainbow jerseys and a Maillot Jaune to bring more colour to her stellar record as one of the greatest champions in the history of cycling. The Dutch icon made the most of her experience and speed to win stage 2 of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift after a very animated finale around Provins. On the uphill finish, she was the fastest from the group of six attackers that had emerged at the front, outsprinting Silvia Persico (Valcar-Travel & Service), 2nd on her 25th birthday, and Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//Sram Racing). Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) finished 4th and gained time on her GC rivals.
The 142 finishers in Paris set off from Meaux with 136.4km of racing ahead of them. The wind, steadily blowing at more than 20km/h and hitting 50km/h, and the rolling terrain lead to early battles.
The early KOM battle
Four riders manage to make the break at km 3: Sabrina Stultiens (Liv Racing Xstra), Femke Gerritse (Parkhotel Valkenburg), Rotem Gafinovitz (Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad) and Marit Raaijmakers (Human Powered Health). They open a lead of 2 minutes en route to the categorised climb of the day, Côte de Tigeaux (km 16.9).
At the summit, Femke Gerritse takes the 2 KOM points. She matches her teammate Femke Markus’ tally - their position on GC at the end of the stage will decide who wears the polka-dot on Tuesday.
More battles through the wind
The gap reaches a maximum of 3 minutes at km 27 and the situation settles for some 20km. Then, the tension seriously increases in the bunch, with teams such as Trek-Segafredo, FDJ Suez Futuroscope and Jumbo-Visma trying to split the bunch through the wind.
A dozen of riders are dropped, including the 3-time cyclo-cross World champion Sanne Cant (Plantur-Pura) but most of the bunch stay together. The main consequence of the acceleration is that the early attackers are caught with 78km to go.
The tension rises
As the route turns eastwards, the crosswinds become tailwinds and the race situation settles ahead of the final battles with a 19.7km loop around Provins. The tension eventually increases with a series of crashes around 30km away from the finish. Among the main riders involved, Marta Cavalli (FDJ Suez Futuroscope) and Amanda Spratt (BikeExchange-Jayco) struggle to get back on her bike.
At the same time, Maike van der Duin (Le Col-Wahoo) goes on the move. She has a lead of 15’’ as she crosses the line for the first time. Wiebes dominates the intermediate sprint in the bunch but she can’t follow the move initiated by Elisa Balsamo with her Trek-Segafredo teammate Elisa Longo Borghini.
The Goat takes it all
Six riders are at the front on the final lap: Balsamo, Longo Borghini and Van der Duin, joined by Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma), Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//Sram Racing) and Silvia Persico (Valcar-Travel & Service), celebrating her 25th birthday with an attack on the roads of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift.
They enter the last 10km with a lead of 30’’ and increase the gap to 40’’ for the last 5km. Their move is about to allow them to battle for the stage win but also the Maillot Jaune.
Longo Borghini is the first to move inside the last kilometre, while Balsamo sits up. But Vos is in perfect control. Her final kick brings her the stage win, the Maillot Jaune and also the green jersey. The Goat has left her mark!