Race leader Emma Johansson wears the Yellow Jersey
Sweden’s Emma Johansson became the first stage winner of The Women’s Tour in history after winning the inaugural first stage from Oundle to Northampton today.
The Orica-AIS rider triumphed after a bunch sprint to take the yellow jersey and an early overall lead in the first edition of the race.
Dutch Olympic champion Marianne Vos was second for Rabobank-liv after just being edged out while there was local interest in the top three thanks to Northamptonshire’s Hannah Barnes coming third.
Britain’s Olympic silver medallist Lizzie Armistead was eighth with compatriot Lucy Garner sixth, meaning there are three homegrown riders in the top ten.
Elise Delzenne of France attempted a breakaway from the peloton 29km from the line but this attack – which opened up a 45 second gap at one stage – was reeled in to set up the sprint finish in the town centre.
Johansson also leads the points classification while Britain’s Sharon Laws heads the mountain standings after collecting nine points from the two climbing sections at Harrington and Spratton.
Twenty-one-year-old Barnes became the first to wear the young rider’s jersey while Specialized Lululemon lead the team table.
“It feels great, I don’t have great memories of racing in England but this was great,” said Johansson.
“It was a long sprint into a head wind. I know Lizzie was going to be up there and Marianne so I was watching them but the crowds were crazy and it helped.
“I did get a bit scared as I was not used to it and thought it may be a crash but they were just excited.”
The Tour continues tomorrow with stage two from Hinckley to Bedford and finishes on May 11 with a leg from Harwich to Bury St Edmunds.