This weekend started with high octane sprint finishes for both the women’s and men’s pelotons, seeing experienced Zwifter Tanya Erath (Canyon//SRAM Racing) take the win on the women’s race and Matteo Dal-Cin (Rally Cycling) just edging through and taking it for the men’s. The 48km course consisted of a two lap circuit through Zwift’s virtual France R.G.V. route, and gave teams the opportunity to pick up intermediate sprint and Q/KOM points along the way. High average speeds on both races saw riders lose contact with the main groups early on.
This week teams went in with the intention to defend their jerseys, Drops Cycling proved they wanted to keep the polkadots and rode aggressively into the QOM with April Tacey (Drops Cycling) again showing her strength and picking up the first set of QOM points. With 5km to the finish line the pace began to increase and as the finishing 2km saw the peloton string out as it snaked around multiple bends, there were only 25 riders left in the bunch to contest the sprint. Erath’s win hasn’t quite managed to unseat Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank from the GC and will see the American team start tomorrow still holding the yellow jersey, but they’ll be happy to be going into stage 4 with the green jersey and retain the young rider’s jersey.
A high speed first lap in the men’s race saw some big names, such as Egan Bernal (Team Ineos), Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) and sprinters Elia Viviani (Cofidis) and Nacer Bouhani (Team Arkea-Samsic) dropped by the end of it. After the final KOM whittled the peloton down further a group of 34 came in towards the final straight with speeds reaching 64kph. Another photo-finish confirmed that Matteo Dal-Cin just managed to take the win ahead of Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ). After some aggressive riding from NTT Pro Cycling Team they keep the yellow jersey and extend their lead, whilst also keeping the green sprint jersey. Israel Start-Up Nation still top the ranks on the KOM points keeping the polkadots for another day.
The most combative riders of the day were Tanya Erath (Canyon//SRAM Racing) and Edvald Boasson-Hagen (NTT Pro Cycling Team).
“I’m super happy with the stage win, it was a course that suited the sprinters really well and we had a deep look into it the last week as even as an experienced Zwifter I had never seen it before. The final suited me well, it was quite technical for a Zwifter and that flat long sprint in is good for me especially.
“Some girls opened up really early so I just tried to keep the pressure on and stay on their wheel then I shift down and get my head down and really go for it with 200m to go. Normally a sprint on Zwift is longer than on the road because you need some time to be able to really increase the speed and then you have to use your power-up and time that right.”
“We got some tips from the Saris indoor racing team and they said that through the final twisty section the draft would come and go so we were prepared for that. Then I waited until 200m to go to use the power-up as they said that it would be roughly how long it would last for and then I just sprinted with everything I had until the end and looked up and saw the finish screen and it said that I was first so it was super cool.
“I’m beyond stoked, our team is kitted up with an incredible setup from Wahoo, so we definitely pulled out all the stops as far as the computer equipment went to try and give us a fighting chance. So I’m beyond thrilled to be able to pull off the win for the team.”
Full Women's overall standings can be found here
Full Men's overall standings can be found here