The women of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team completed the 2015 Aviva Women’s Tour of Britain in spectacular fashion on Sunday with a sprint victory by British cycling star Hannah Barnes. The final stage was the hilliest of the five stages, covering 102 kilometers of undulating roads from Marlow to Hemel Hempstead with two categorized climbs between. After four consecutive days of fast-paced racing, the climbs took their toll on the riders’ legs. Two riders broke free from the peloton early in the stage, soon be joined by two more. The peloton kept a watchful eye on the four riders, never allowing them to build an advantage greater than a minute. On the first queen of the mountains competition, the field regained contact, setting the tone for the aggressive, high-stakes final stage. A solo rider attacked once again as the road tilted up, and the ensuing chase caused a split in the field. With a group of roughly 25 riders off at the front of the race chasing the soloist, it looked as though the rest of the peloton might not see a chance to contest the finish.
The main field regrouped and made a successful concerted effort to regain contact. Over the final kilometers, a lone rider bridged up to the solo rider, but the peloton was quick on their wheels. The two riders were caught with just 500 meters remaining, and the peloton was ready to unleash a fierce bunch sprint for the final stage. In a fast and chaotic final finishing stretch, Hannah Barnes took a fantastic sprint victory. The elated stage winner commented, “This is probably the biggest win of my career. I have been consistently up there at the finishes this week, and I really wanted to get the stage win. I couldn’t have done any of it without the team. This has been a great 5 days of racing here in Britain!” With consistently strong performances all week, Barnes sealed the lead in the best young rider and best British rider categories, as well as 5th overall in the general classification. Teammate Alexis Ryan was at Barnes’ aid much of the race and finished 8th in the general classification, adding to the impressive week of results for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team.
The men of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team also concluded the Tour of Slovenia on Sunday. Robert Förster took 7th in the final sprint after a great day of racing, in which Chris Jones raced his way into the breakaway of the day, staying away until just 35 kilometers from the finish.