Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Katie Archibald has finished the BeNe Ladies Tour with third place overall, having won the opening prologue on Thursday and losing out only to bonus seconds on the stage finish lines. The 24-year-old Scot tried a final kilometre attack, in an attempt to escape the peloton, but was pulled back before the finish.
The race was won by European Champion Marianne Vos (Waowdeals Pro Cycling), with Lisa Klein (Canyon-SRAM) taking second.
“It’s been a bizarre situation,” Archibald smiled. “Taking the prologue win essentially lined up the next few days for us. It maybe shouldn’t be shocking that the person that’s fastest at four kilometres struggles at 135! It kind of took a knock to the time trial, and I’ve just been looked after so well by the girls this week to essentially maintain that position.”
A finish line time bonus saw Vos take the jersey from Archibald on Stage 1, but the Scot was able to close the gap to just one second in the time trial on Stage 2b. The final stage, made up of nine laps of a 12.6km circuit, was to be a battle for bonuses between Archibald, Vos and Klein, with the Dutch and German riders coming out on top.
“I took a one-second bonus sprint in today’s stage, but Lisa Klein took two seconds so we were drawn on time,” Archibald explained. “So we made the decision to go, and I put in a last minute attack; it was a kilo and a half to go - so it was a very last minute attack - I think that was our best chance for the win.
“But I didn’t have the legs so I was happy to still be there at the end and keep that same time for third place.”
The BeNe Ladies Tour was Archibald’s third stage race for Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling in 2018, but she was unable to finish either the Tour de Yorkshire or the OVO Energy Women’s Tour due to crashes. Despite hitting the tarmac this weekend, however, Archibald was not only able to complete the race, but come close to winning it too.
“I didn’t quite manage to get through it without crashing, but it was far less dramatic this time,” she laughed. “I’m still going home to see a physio, but in a lot better shape in previous races! Just sore legs, so that’s good.”
Having completed the BeNe Ladies Tour, Archibald’s focus - along with many of her teammates - will turn towards the European Championships at the beginning of August. The flat nature of the Dutch and Belgian race means that she heads to the velodrome with a quality training block in her legs.
“It’s ten days until Euros starts,” she said. "It’s funny, I was just saying goodbye to Julie [Leth] and Rachele [Barbieri], and of course next time I see them we’ll be in different pens, and different kits. Hopefully this has worked well for that. It will be an important week, this week, with team pursuit prep.
“This has been a really useful block in that respect, but much more of a joy to make the podium!” she laughed.
1. Marianne Vos (Waowdeals Pro Cycling)
2. Lisa Klein (Canyon-SRAM)
3. Katie Archibald (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)
Photo Credit: Anton Vos