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21 Jul 2019, Edition - 1468, Sunday

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Sports

Lizzie Deignan takes Women’s Tour race lead after stage five victory

The Guardian

Lizzie Deignan moved into the overall race lead of the Women’s Tour with one day remaining after winning stage five in Builth Wells.

The Briton proved too strong in a sprint for Kasia Niewiadoma, with Deignan’s Trek-Segafredo teammate Elisa Longo Borghini coming home third.

The trio escaped on the day’s final serious climb, but it was Deignan who took the win. She now heads Niewiadoma, winner of stage four, by a second in the overall classification.

The race concludes on Saturday with a 126km run to Pembrey Country Park from Carmarthen.

For Deignan it was a first professional victory since she returned from maternity leave after the birth of her daughter Orla in September last year.

“The win was emotional,” said Deignan, who was in tears after crossing the line, in a tweet from her team. “It’s a comeback after becoming a mom; finding my feet again in cycling has been difficult. Obviously, there’s always been questions whether I made the right decision, but today was massive validation.

“My husband has been my rock, and I thought of him when I crossed the line.”

Chris Froome will, meanwhile, be sidelined from cycling for a minimum of two months – and almost certainly much longer – having undergone surgery following the crash on Wednesday that ruled him out this year’s Tour de France.

Froome had to be airlifted to hospital in Saint-Étienne after losing consciousness and suffering a fractured right femur, a broken hip, a fractured elbow and fractured ribs in the incident, which took place during a practice ride before stage four of the Critérium de Dauphiné. The 34-year-old came off his bike and hit a wall at 37mph having taken his hands off the handlebars to blow his nose.

The subsequent operation lasted six hours and was described as a success by the Team Ineos doctor Richard Usher but, according to the chief surgeon who carried it out, Remi Philippot, Froome’s rehabilitation process will be a long one.

“Professional sports people are very good mentally and want to win, but maybe I think I have to slow him down because he’s very quick and wants to go fast but bone healing needs at least two months. So we have to be patient,” he told BBC Sport. “Maybe we will need to do other things. Maybe the rehabilitation will not be as we want.”

Adam Yates clung on to his overall lead in the Dauphiné after finishing safely in the peloton at the end of stage six to Saint Michel de Maurienne on Friday.

The Briton, racing for Michelton-Scott, will take a slender four-second advantage over Belgium’s Dylan Teuns into the weekend’s decisive mountain stages, with other big names limbering up for the fight ahead.

Julian Alaphilippe won a sprint finish over Bora-Hansgrohe’s Gregor Mühlberger to win the stage after a strong attacking performance which also saw Alessandro De Marchi (CCC Team) cross the line in third.

The trio had escaped the pack towards the end of the stage and the jostle for victory proved too much for De Marchi, who dropped back while the Frenchman claimed the win on a photo finish. Wout Poels of Team Ineos finished at the front of a peloton which contained Yates, but it proved a costly day for former stage winner Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), who finished over 15 minutes off the pace.

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