Abbeycroft was very proud to be involved in yesterday’s Women’s Tour event in Bury St Edmunds. (June 6)
Despite the wet conditions – the turnout in Bury St Edmunds was good with lots of people watching on the big screen in the event village and cheering on the riders as they thundered through the finish line on Angel Hill.
The Women’s Tour 2022 set off from Colchester’s Northern Gateway Sports Park and travelled through Brantham, Hadleigh, Needham Market and Stowmarket on its way to finishing in Bury St Edmunds.
Frenchwoman Clara Copponi claimed the first victory of her road racing career as she sprinted to win the opening stage of the Women’s Tour in Bury St Edmunds yesterday (6 June).
The FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope rider pipped Italian duo Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ) and Elena Cecchini (Team SD Worx) to the line in a reduced bunch sprint after a final-kilometre crash removed pre-stage favourite Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) from contention.
Copponi, a reigning world champion on the track, claimed the first yellow leader’s jersey of this year’s race as a result of her victory. Having finished third overall in last year’s Women’s Tour, she also leads the Breast Cancer Now points classification going into stage two.
“Today I feel good, confident. I am excited for the rest of the week. I love England!” said Copponi afterwards, saying to defending her lead in stage two she would need to “Win the sprint, again, I will do my best and we will see day by day
“I did my best and I’m so happy. I’m so excited, it’s a great day, it’s my first victory.”
Finishing fourth was Canyon//SRAM Racing rider Alice Barnes, who takes the honour of Best British Rider, an award she won overall in 2021, after the opening day.
“My teammates tried to help me and we had aimed to be patient,” said Barnes, “But I was blocked to get to them, so I made the choice to go alone in the final. I was able to find my way close to the front before the roundabout but I have to admit we’d already been slipping a lot all day on the wet roads and that didn’t give me a lot of confidence. The riders ahead of me took the left-hand corner too hot and crashed. I was able to find my way through and did my best in the final 100m.”
Mick Bennett, Women’s Tour race director said:
“It was great to be able to return to Bury St Edmunds and what a welcome the race received! Despite the less than ideal weather, the enthusiasm of everybody at the finish, not to mention those out along the stage route, was truly joyous. A big thank you to everybody who made it happen!”
The event was brought to Suffolk by a partnership between Suffolk County Council, West Suffolk Council, Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils and Suffolk Growth, with support from Abbeycroft Leisure and Vertas.