Women’s Tour of Britain: Clara Copponi takes lead as Amy Pieters wins stage two

Amy Pieters won a cold and rainy second stage of the Women’s Tour of Britain in a sprint finish, while second-placed Clara Copponi took the overall leader’s jersey.

Tuesday’s stage began and ended in Walsall, with a 10-woman breakaway group battling for the stage victory in what the 30-year-old Dutch cyclist Pieters described as “a hectic finale”. British 21-year-old rider Pfeiffer Georgi (Team DSM) led into the final corner but had to settle for fifth place, with Movistar’s Sheyla Gutiérrez in third.

France’s Copponi (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) was pipped to the line by Pieters but took the general classification lead after finishing third on Monday’s opening stage. “The conditions made the race hard, but I liked it,” Pieters said afterwards. “We wanted to race aggressively, and that side went well.”

Pieters (Team SD Worx), who is second in the overall standings, looks the better equipped to emerge from Wednesday’s time trial in Atherstone with the blue jersey. British time trial specialist Joss Lowden – who recently broke the hour record – is a contender for the stage victory.

Lowden (Drops-Le Col) is in 25th place overall, 52sec behind Copponi. The two-time former winner, Lizzie Deignan, is down in 45th place after her dramatic triumph in the Paris-Roubaix on Saturday. The overnight leader, Marta Bastianelli, fell to 10th in the standings after finishing 46sec off the pace.