Talking Shop at the Women’s Tour


Gordon Wiseman chats to Katie Hall (QoM), Dani King, Molly Weaver, Rossella Ratto , Lotta Lepisto (Stage winner), Bob Varney and more

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Talking Shop at the Women’s Tour

On the final day of the Women’s Tour, Gordon Wiseman chats to Katie Hall (QoM), Dani King, Molly Weaver, Rossella Ratto , Lotta Lepisto (Stage winner), Bob Varney and Hans Timmermans (DS – Team Liv-Plantur).


Molly Weaver (Team Liv-Plantur) – Having worked so hard for the team in the previous stages Molly found herself near the front of the race as the main break split off the front and, although she was supposed to be working to protect Leah Kirchmann, once the break was forming she had slot-in to protect the team’s stage long plans.

“We wanted a really aggressive race today and I and Floortje were supposed to be protecting Leah and keeping her sheltered. We came onto a narrow piece of road and, having brought Leah out of the wind to take her to the front, at that moment there was an attack and I was the one who was there so just had to go”.

“I got the back wheel of one of the attacking riders and as we looked behind we saw a break forming and everyone shouted “we have a gap, let’s keep going’ so we worked really hard, going flat out into the first QoM to force the gap and consolidate it”.

“Over the QoM it was really steep but the crowds there were enormous and that kept us all going. I felt alright at that point and although I could feel how hard the race had been for me, being in the front group and with all the crowds, that really kept me going.”

“With about 25kms to go, everyone had been doing their turn and coming through and off and when that happens it makes it so much easier to keep the pace going. Then Hans’ – Timmermann’s, the Liv-Plantur DS – ‘came on the radio and told me to stop working as much as we were hoping the race would pull back together so Leah could go for the sprint. I was so tired by then so I was more than happy to hear those words!”

“The group stayed away and I got sixth in the sprint and, if I’m honest, by the end of the day I was probably the 6th strongest rider left so I was more than happy with that. Especially when I heard that Leah had won her sprint for 8th”.

“As a team I think this is the best week we’ve ever ridden and the best stage race we’ve ever ridden. We’ve worked as a unit and that’s been great. Yesterday there were 16 riders in the chasing bunch and that included three of us so that was massive for this team. Every day we’ve improved and every day we’ve worked so well together. I’ve been so proud to ride with this group.

“On a personal basis, to finish second in the Young Rider’s competition, to finish in the top 20 on GC and to get a top 10 on a stage in a World Tour race, given I was here on a domestique role I’m more than happy with that”.

Lotta Lepisto (Cervelo Bigla) won the battle into Kettering but it was Yorkshire’s Lizzie Armistead (Boels Dolmans) who won the war and in doing so, not only finished the Women’s Aviva Tour for the very first time but she also became the home winner of the race. “It’s been hard so I went in the break. But in the last 2kms we hoped they weren’t going to catch us and then I was confident I could win the sprint” explained Lepisto reflecting on her win. “In this tour we may have only had one of the smallest teams but I think we had the biggest hearts”.

Katie Hall (Unitedhealthcare Pro Women Team) – the 29 year old Californian rider picked up early points in the QoM competition on stage 1 and from that point onwards focussed on the distinctive polka dot jersey. She started the stage in Northampton with a 12 point lead in the competition over Moolman-Pasio and with just 12 points available at the top of the day’s two climbs, knew that just one last effort would be sufficient to make the jersey hers. “It’s been a hard race and everyone’s tired but, for me, it’s just a question of getting a single point and that will be a great result for me and the team”.


“Winning the jersey feels really good. We lost two riders during the race but I think we coped pretty well. We wanted to get more riders into breaks but that was hard for only three of us. But we managed to keep the jersey so that was good. I had stages 2, 3 and 4 in mind to go for before the race because of the hills were bigger. We were quite happy when the break went up the road this morning as I knew I was safe in the jersey”.

“I love this race and think it’s probably my favourite race and I’ve now done all three editions. In 2014 it was my first race in Europe and last year I held the jersey for one day as well. And the crowds have been amazing, I don’t think I’ve ever signed my name as many times as I have done this week!”


Dani King (right of pic) (Wiggle HIGH5) – “The race this year has been really good and different from the previous two editions. That’s made it a much more challenging course and we’ve had to ride pretty much flat out from the word go. Although the tougher route has made the racing harder I’ve actually preferred it. I was able to do my first full year of winter training on the road so that’s made me stronger so for me, harder the race the better”.

“In the past I’ve juggled track with the road, only doing about 10-20 race days in the year so this is definitely my first full year exclusively on the road. I do miss racing on the track but I absolutely love racing on the road as well. But it’s really hard to compare the two.


Bob Varney (Team Patron – Drops Cycling Team) – Pre-race, birthday Boy Bob had plenty to smile about with his team being 9th place overall in the team classification before the day’s racing started, more than justifying the place of the Miami green and black clad team in Britain’s premier women’s race.

“Being in such a great position in the team competition is certainly the best way to start today. I really am over the moon about this. We have a young leader in Alice Barnes but we have a very experienced number 2 in Laura Massy and it’s been her job to ride with Alice right to the finish of each stage. And I think it’s fair to say we’ve pretty much achieved that”.

“We’ve always tried to have Alice and Laura in the front group where ever possible and yesterday we had four in the group that was sitting just behind the world’s best riders. It’s been a tough bike race and the girls were tired ahead of yesterday’s stage but still they performed as they did. We know RaboLiv are tired and we know Boels Dolmans are tired, they’ve been fighting, fighting through the whole race. But our girls have been following them all the way”.

Post stage on the final day, Bob explained the day wasn’t without incident for the Drops riders and although they slipped one place in the team competition to finish in 10th place, they finished ahead of many more established World Tour teams and that was an outstanding effort for the British outfit.

“That was a difficult day at the office. It was all going well and we were still hopeful that the race would finish with bunch sprint so Trixie’ – Rebecca Durrell – ‘could use her kick up that hill at the finish”.


“Then Hannah Payton punctured her rear tyre which would normally be a straight forward matter. Everyone followed the correct protocol but as she was pushed back into the race the wheel dislodged the brake block. We managed to fix that but after some other issues we lost five minutes so we were out the back of the race”.

“One of the police riders stayed with us when we told him we wanted to get Hannah back into the bunch and he put on his blues and twos and with Hannah hanging on at nearly 40mph we got her back. It was epic. But right on cue Jen George snapped her gear cable so we had to sort her out as well”.

“Alice and Laura Massey fully committed to getting Trixie as close to the front for the sprint to come but there was a crash at the bottom roundabout with less than 500m to go and Trixie just got caught in that. But even then Alice didn’t stop and I think she still got fourth in the bunch sprint to finish 12th overall on the stage”.

Hans Timmermans (DS – Team Liv-Plantur) – With 25 year old Lean Kirchmann in sixth place just 37s off the lead and Floortje Mackaij leading the Stoke on Trent European City of Sports Young Riders competition ahead of team-mate Molly Weaver, Liv-Plantur have been one of the most aggressive team’s in the race, regularly prowling at the front to protect Kirchmann’s GC hopes.


“I think we’ve not only been riding aggressively through the whole race but we’ve often been dominant and this week I’ve been really impressed by the girls, the whole team. We had a good result yesterday with Leah’s second place in the sprint behind Marianne as she was outstanding in that sprint.”

“It’s great having Leah do so well in the GC but in the Young Rider’s competition with Floortje and Molly up there, they’ve been getting those results on top of all the work they’ve been doing for the team. That’s even more impressive. If you saw them on Friday and yesterday, chasing, chasing the best riders in the world and each time they’ve closed the gaps. For two young riders they’re really on the way to be at World-class level. For the future that means the team is only going to get better and better”.


Rossella Ratto (Cylance Pro Cycling) – The 22 year old won a stage and came third overall in the inaugural edition of the Women’s Aviva Tour but didn’t race in last year’s edition. “It’s been a very hard race for me this year as I came into the race after 9 days of antibiotics so on the first day I was suffering a lot and the recovery was very hard. Then I had mechanical problems on the second stage that cost me a lot of time in the Young Rider’s classification. I tried hard to get into a break but it wasn’t to be.”

“I enjoyed my ride in 2014, taking the stage win and doing so well on the GC and although I haven’t done as much in the race this year, my team-mate Alison’ – Tetrick, who put in the star ride into Norwich only just to be overtaken in the closing metres – ‘was in the break on the first day and I was screaming into the radio to encourage her as I was thinking it was like my ride in 2014 so when she didn’t win we cried together”.




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