TdFF daily stage 2: Georgia Williams in the break
Veronica remains in the top 20 overall
Under blue skies and sunshine, the peloton set off from Clermont-Ferrand to race the 151.7 kilometers to Mauriac.
But the weather didn’t hold and once the clouds rolled in, the drizzle soon followed. While the rain was off and on, the soggy roads made the day that much more challenging.
Georgia Williams was undaunted by the conditions. When the early attacks started, she jumped, expecting a group of a dozen riders to get away. Instead, she was joined by just one other rider. Our kiwi had good legs and decided to make the most of it. All told, she spent nearly 100 kilometers off the front before she was finally absorbed.
Meanwhile, in the peloton our team had a few tough moments. Alison Jackson was involved in a small crash when a few riders got tangled up but she was able to quickly get back on her bike and rejoin the peloton. If you caught the crash on TV, you probably saw Alison give the thumbs up once she was back riding again. She has been examined by the team doctor and escaped with minor road rash.
When Veronica Ewers had a flat tire, Magdeleine Vallieres offered up her bike and gave Veronica a push, sending our GC leader back to the peloton where she ultimately had a bike change. Veronica stayed with the race favorites right to the end, and lost minimal time when her group began to split in the run up to the finish line. She is in 17th place overall and just over one minute behind.
Read on to hear from our riders about the day’s racing.
It wasn’t really the plan but I was just at the front. There were a few attacks going on the first climb. I went with a few. It was a group of five of us that kept going but then they came back but then two of us got away. Only two, unfortunately. I was hoping more would come across, which would have been nice. It was a long day, just the two of us. I think we did 80k out there but it was still super fun. There was such a good atmosphere. The crowds were so good. I really just soaked it all in.
It’s so early in the Tour and I think there was only one lot of points up for grabs yesterday, so I thought, “maybe, why not just give this a go.” I’m out here, trying to make it worth it so I went for both the QOMs, but then we just got caught before the third one. It would have been nice to get the third one.
I think we got up to a minute and a half so I just thought we’d just keep going. It wasn’t super hard out there. I felt like the pace we were doing was my strength. I can just sit at that power for hours so it was pretty comfortable out there. I thought just see how far I can get in the race and then maybe I can help the girls if they come across or when they get up to me, but we got caught with about 55k to go.
Once we hit kilometer zero, it was pretty full gas for maybe one or two K and then it was actually pretty tame, surprisingly, for most of the day. And then a lot of things happened. I got a flat and then Mags gave me her bike because she’s amazing. I didn’t realize that her saddle was significantly lower than mine so I felt like a big kid on a tiny bike for a good 30 minutes. [Our sport director] Daniel was unable to come through and switch bikes for a long time so that was pretty funny. A lot of chaos and chaotic moments for me trying to get a bike change and whatnot. Thanks to Mags for thinking quickly and giving me her bike. Once it started raining it was kind of chaotic and sketchy. Unfortunately, there were a lot of crashes but fortunately all of us, apart from AJ who went down but she’s ok, the rest of us stayed upright so that’s really good. I managed to make it with the front group over the final climb and then into the finish.
When I saw Veronica flatted, I knew I couldn’t wait to think. I just gave her my bike as quickly as I could, pushed her, and then waited for a bike and rode in the gruppetto. It was the first time I’d ridden in the gruppetto when I wasn’t cracked so it was a nice cool down.