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NEWS

Leah Thomas Wins Inaugural Women’s Tour of Scotland

Dominant Team Bigla claim four jerseys and fire Thomas to glory

Full race report, official results, photography and rider reaction

Leah Thomas won the first-ever Women’s Tour of Scotland with a clinical sprint to cap off a frantic finish in Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park.

The 30-year-old, who was wearing the Motorola Solutions Queen of the Sprints Jersey, showed impressive power to edge off an elite leading group of riders in the bunch sprint.

The American not only took the overall crown at the inaugural event, but also kept hold of the Motorola Solutions Queen of the Sprints Jersey.

Elise Chabbey, her Bigla teammate, crossed just behind in second but that wasn’t enough to move her up enough in the GC standings as Stage 2 winner Alison Jackson finished second.

Meanwhile Stine Borgli repeated her third-placed second-stage finish in Edinburgh to finish third overall in Scotland.

With 5km left to ride it looked like Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Team Bigla) was set to win the race with a ten-second lead, although she was caught on the final climb.

The Dane still took home the EventScotland Queen of the Mountains Jersey for her team after an impressive five victories in the competition over the course of the weekend.

Stage 3 was a resounding success for Team Bigla with 22-year-old Belgian rider Nikola Noskova taking the Deloitte Best Young Rider Jersey, while Anna Shackley secured the Best Scottish Rider Jersey in the capital.

Thomas crosses the finish line to become the first-ever Women’s Tour of Scotland winner.
Image: SWpix.com

Stage 3 Edinburgh – stage result:
1. 26 Leah Thomas (Bigla) 3h10’04”
2. 23 Elise Chabbey (Bigla) +00”
3. 121 Stine Borgli (Norway National Team) +00”

Baillie Gifford Leaders Jersey (General Classification) result:
1. 26 Leah Thomas (Bigla) 6h34’24”
2. 73 Alison Jackson (Tibco Silicon Valley Bank) +05”
3. 121 Stine Borgli (Norway National Team) +07”

Jerseys
Baillie Gifford Leaders Jersey: overall race winner: 26 Leah Thomas (Bigla)
Motorola Solutions Queen of Sprints Jersey: 26 Leah Thomas (Bigla)
EventScotland Queen of the Mountains Jersey: 21 Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Bigla)
Deloitte Best Young Rider Jersey: 24 Nikola Noskova (Bigla)
Best Scottish Rider Jersey: 6 Anna Shackley (Scotland)

DOWNLOAD FULL RESULTS HERE

Stine Borgli (third), Leah Thomas (winner), Alison Jackson (second).
Image: SWpix.com

Rider reaction

Leah Thomas, who won the Baillie Gifford Leaders Jersey and the Motorola Solutions Queen of the Sprints Jersey was thrilled to become the first-ever winner of the Women’s Tour of Scotland in Edinburgh. She said: “Crossing the finish line in first was amazing. I would not be able to claim the jersey without the work of this team. They were amazing all day and we knew we had multiple cards to play – it just happened to come down to a sprint so I knew it would be my job to seal the deal. I was confident I could win the race if it came down to a bunch sprint, I really wanted to bring it home for the team. I wouldn’t call myself a pure sprinter, but I did the absolute best I could to win the Tour. We’ve raced really well together all week and it’s been amazing to see the teamwork and confidence that has come out of this team.”

Thomas brandishes the Women’s Tour of Scotland winners trophy.
Image: SWpix.com

Alison Jackson, who won Stage 2 and finished second in the overall standings, said: “Going from winning yesterday to losing the lead today is disappointing, but we are pleased with the overall team performance. Finishing in second is great, but I would have rather won the jersey. A technical team is going to do better in a race in rainy weather conditions like today. There were some unpredictable moments on the road because of the water, you can’t see some holes and some of the descents became slippery. As professional athletes, we are meant to deal with all sorts of weather. I would love to come back and race in Scotland, the courses were dynamic and exciting – it was a fantastic race.”

Stine Borgli, who finished in third in both Stage 3 and the overall standings, said: “I’m very happy with my results. We wanted to go for the sprints today because we have strong riders who can attack them. We tried to make it hard for everyone else. It was a difficult course today in Edinburgh. It didn’t look very technical but it was because of the rain making the climbs so slippery. I was in front, so I just needed to make sure I was focused to make it to the sprint in the same position. It has been a fantastic and very well-organised event. I hope to come back next year.”

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig claimed the EventScotland Queen of the Mountains Jersey​.
Image: SWPix.com.

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, who won the Queen of the Mountains Jersey, said: “It was really awesome. I mean, in general, it was just – cool! I mean, what a day for the team. We rode so well together, holy moly, and the atmosphere, even though it was pouring rain, people were out there, I even saw my name on the road! It was awesome, thanks a lot!”

Nikola Noskova, who won the Deloitte Best Young Rider Jersey, said: “I am so happy that I have won the jersey because it was such a difficult race in the cold weather. I didn’t realise I had won the Best Young Rider Jersey until right at the end when I tried to go straight to the showers! My team has won so many jerseys so I am so proud to be a part of Bigla. Targeting all the jerseys was not in our plans, but we knew we have the riders who are capable of it. We made a great lead-out at the end and I am so pleased Leah managed to win the stage.

Anna Shackley, who won the Best Scottish Rider Jersey, said: “I am really pleased to win the jersey, especially because it was my first UCI race. I was quite surprised, but I am happy with my performance overall. The heavy rain made the surface a lot slippier when we were coming down the hill near Arthur’s Seat. It was quite scary at points, but it definitely made the race more interesting. Having the crowds at the finish line was so nice, some of them know me by name and it was so nice to hear them cheer.”

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig led for two laps of the course around Holyrood Park.
Image: SWpix.com

Full report

The race got off to a quick start with seven riders immediately trying to break clear of the peloton at 5km, but they were quickly caught by the main bunch as heavy rain lashed down on the capital.

There were a few further breakaway attempts in the first 30km of the stage until 41 Dani Christmas broke clear with a small advantage, but again, the leader was swiftly caught.
The first 40km of the stage had passed by within the first 90 minutes of racing and all further breakaway attempts had failed with all teams represented at the front of the pack ahead of the first sprint in Innerleithen.

51.2km Innerleithen sprint (Motorola Solutions Queen of the Sprints Jersey competition)
1. (5pts) 133 Rebecca Durrell (Brother UK-Tifosi)
2. (3pts) 26 Leah Thomas (Bigla)
3. (2pts) 13 Ahreum Na (Ale Cipollini)
4. (1pts) 121 Stine Borgli (Norway National Team)

With 64km covered, Team Bigla were out in full force again heading into the only climb of Stage 3 and their team leader 21 Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, who was wearing the Queen of the Mountains Jersey as they approached the Mound, added another eight points to her tally in the competition with another first-place finish.

70.4km The Mound/Granite climb (EventScotland Queen of the Mountains Jersey competition)
1. (8pts) 21 Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Bigla)
2. (6pts) 23 Elise Chabbey (Bigla)
3. (4pts) 91 Eugenia Bujak (BTC City Ljubljana)
4. (2pts) Heda Samsing (Norway National Team)

Dani Christmas mounted an early breakaway attempt.
Image: SWpix.com

It was 52 Ann-Sophie Duyck of Parkhotel Valkenburg who gained a lone advantage over the rest of the peloton as the riders descended and her gap steadily increased to 15 seconds as the riders approached the 77km mark.

52 Ann-Sophie Duyck extended her advantage to 1 minute 32secs with no riders attempting to chase and headed into the Bonnyrigg sprint well ahead of the pack.

89.9km Bonnyriggsprint (Motorola Solutions Queen of the Sprints Jersey competition)
1. (5pts) 52 Ann-Sophie Duyck (Parkhotel Valkenburg)
2. (3pts) 73 Alison Jackson (Team Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank)
3. (2pts) 91 Eugenia Bujak (BTC City Ljubljana)
4. (1pts) 26 Leah Thomas (Bigla)

52 Parkhotel Valkenburg’s Ann-Sophie Duyck was leading by 1 minute and 10 seconds as the riders came out of Bonnyrigg and into Edinburgh where hundreds of spectators were waiting to cheer them through the final stretch – the three laps of Holyrood Park.

101.8km Holyrood Park, Queens Drivesprint (Motorola Solutions Queen of the Sprints Jersey competition)
1. (5pts) 52 Ann-Sophie Duyck (Parkhotel Valkenburg)
2. (3pts) 26 Leah Thomas (Bigla)
3. (2pts) 91 Eugenia Bujak (BTC City Ljubljana)
4. (1pts) 133 Rebecca Durrell (Brother UK – Tifosi)

52 Ann-Sophie Duyck was the first to approach Arthur’s Seat but she was caught by peloton midway through the first lap as the competition began to hot up for the Baillie Gifford Leaders jersey.

Four Bigla riders were in the front pack allowing 21 Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig to do what she does best and storm to the front on the climb, winning her second successive climb of the stage and fourth of the Tour.

103km Holyrood Park (EventScotland Queen of the Mountains Jersey competition)
1. (8pts) 21 Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Bigla)
2. (6pts) 122 Vita Heine (Norway National Team)
3. (4pts) 23 Elise Chabbey (Bigla)
4. (2pts) 24 Nikola Noskova (Bigla)

Alison Jackson, Leah Thomas, Emma White, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig before the final stage.
Image: SWPix.com.

As the riders approached the final lap, it was Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig who had a ten-second advantage over a chasing group of ten riders, which featured yellow jersey wearer Alison Jackson (Team Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank).

108km Holyrood Park (EventScotland Queen of the Mountains Jersey competition)
1. (8pts) 21 Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Bigla)
2. (6pts) 46 Julie Van de Velde (Lotto-Soudal Ladies)
3. (4pts) 23 Elise Chabbey (Bigla)
4. (2pts) 16 Eri Yonamine (Ale Cipollini)
5, (1pts) 26 Leah Thomas (Bigla)

She had already won every climb of the Tour, securing the EventScotland Queen of the Mountains jersey regardless of the final result but Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig was unable to hold on for the last lap of the race as she was caught by the chasing group midway through.

113km Holyrood Park (EventScotland Queen of the Mountains Jersey competition)
1.(8pts) 46 Julie Van de Velde (Lotto-Soudal Ladies)
2.(6pts) 23 Elise Chabbey (Bigla)
3.(4pts)26 Leah Thomas (Bigla)
4. (2pts) 16 Eri Yonamine (Ale Cipollini)
5. (1pts) 122 Vita Heine (Norway National Team)

But Team Bigla played their cards right. The leading group split as the riders hurtled towards the finish but Leah Thomas and Elise Chabbey powered over the finish line in first and second, with Norway National Team’s Stine Borgli finishing narrowly behind in third.

A full gallery of the day’s stage is available here. Non-registered users can use the password WTS2019 to download imagery.

Post-race reaction will be available to follow by clicking here.