Tour ta' Malta stage race

 

Iona Sewell of Squadra Donne led from start to finish in the Tour ta' Malta stage race.  She claimed the overall win, picking up two stage wins and a third place along the way.

 

Stage one was a 32 kilometre time trial over five laps of a coastal route, with a dead turn at the end of each lap.

 

Sewell set the standard, with a time of 53 minutes 52 seconds, while team mate Miriam Freemantle came in 1 minute 59 seconds later to claim second place.

 

Stage 2, the following day saw the race move to the tough St Martin circuit, the main feature of which was the winding 2 kilometre climb, that had to be negotiated seven times during the 70 kilometre course.  It is a notoriously difficult stage, which often sees a move which proves decisive to the overall standings.  And so it was this year, with Sewell breaking way from the main field, which included the Dutch team, who seemed to have no answer to the attack.

 

Sewell finished alone and with time for a two arm salute as she crossed the line.  Team mate, Freemantle, policed the following group and managed to clinch second place, 1 minute 59 seconds later.

 

The third and final stage was held in the small island of Gozo, near Malta. With the race leader, Sewell, enjoying a lead of almost four minutes over the nearest Dutch rider, she looked set to claim her first stage race win, but the Dutch had not thrown in the towel and they attacked from the gun.

 

Two Dutch riders, Bernadette Jeremiasse and Roos van den Bos, showed great fighting spirit by launching an attack as the very start of the 70 kilometre stage. Initially Sewell was dropped from the chasing group, as she struggled to get into her pedals, but was eventually paced back up to the bunch by a team mate.

 

By mid race the lead hovered around the 40 second mark that is when Freemantle hit the tarmac hard, after losing her chain on two other occasions; with bruises and skin scrapes she got up to try to defend her overall second place position, but it proved too much for her.

 

Lap by lap the Dutch riders increased their lead, forcing Sewell to ride hard to hold onto the overall win.  Dropping her team mate, van den Bos crossed the line, almost a minute ahead of her break away companion Jeremiasse and with Sewell another five seconds back.  The rest of the field were 2 minutes 40 seconds behind her.

 

Final       Name    Surname              Club       Finishing Time:

Position

1              Iona Sewell, Squadra Donne       04:07:48

2              Roos van den Bos, Noord Holland             04:13:04

3              Claudia Koster, Noord Holland   04:14:21

4              Miriam Freemantle, Squadra Donne       04:15:45

5              Bernardette Jeremiasse, Noord Holland                04:18:33

6              Gail Aspden, Squadra Donne      04:18:47

7              Marie Claire, Aquilina Greens Cycling Club            04:20:13

8              Maxine Soeterbroek, Noord Holland       04:24:17

9              Angela Lewry, Bedfordshire Road Cycling Club 04:26:04

10           Amy Hutchinson, Bedfordshire Road Cycling Club             04:27:01

11           Danica Bonello, Greens Cycling Club        04:33:04

12           Clare Simon, Bedfordshire Road Cycling Club       04:35:33

13           Michelle Buck, Squadra Donne  04:45:05

14           Jenni Lake, Bedfordshire Road Cycling Club          04:54:44

15           Katie Fernehough, Chevin Bang & Olufsen           05:01:56

16           Roberta Bonavia, Qormi Scott Cycling Club           05:05:48

17           Gabriella Shaw, Chevin Bang & Olufsen DNF

 

 

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