Kirsten Wild wins 2016 Women’s Tour de Yorkshire

The women's race passes All Saints Church in Sherburn-in-Elmet. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

The women's race passes All Saints Church in Sherburn-in-Elmet. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

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Lizzie Armitstead’s bid for the richest prize in women’s cycling ended 3km from home as Kirsten Wild won the Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire in Doncaster.

Wild, 33, from Holland, capitalised when world champion Armitstead’s long breakaway was swallowed up by the chasing pack.

It was a thrilling sprint finish up South Parade in front of thousands of fans, but the great shame of the occasion was that there was no television coverage.

The Women’s Tour de Yorkshire, which mirrored the men’s stage from Otley to Doncaster later in the day, was the richest race in the history of women’s cycling, and was also due to be televised live on both Eurosport 2 and ITV4.

However, the plane that relays pictures back for coverage was grounded this morning, meaning there was no live television broadcast whatsoever.

Organisers were hoping to scramble a replacement plane from Paris for the start of the men’s race at 2.15pm, back in Otley.

Lizzie Armitstead on the start line for the womens Tour de Yorkshire race from Otley to Doncaster.  Picture Tony Johnson

Lizzie Armitstead on the start line for the womens Tour de Yorkshire race from Otley to Doncaster. Picture Tony Johnson

While such a scenario prevented the race getting the international exposure joint-organisers Welcome to Yorkshire and the Amaury Sports Organisation craved, it was still another grand day out for the region.

Hundreds lined a route from Otley that beat a 136.5km path through Harewood, Barwick-in-Elmet, Pontefract and past Conisbrough Castle.

For Armitstead, the 2015 world champion, it was a particularly proud moment.

“I never thought I’d get to wear the rainbow jersey on my home roads,” she beamed, just moments after he challenge to win the £15,000 top prize had failed.

“I kind of got involved in the attack by accident, around Conisbrough Castle. I knew I had to keep it going down the descent, there was a little bit of a kicker. I thought I’ll stick it here and see what happens, then I looked behind me and there was two of us, so it wasn’t exactly planned.

“You never know if you can make it stick. It was worth just giving it a go, I wouldn’t have bet on me in the sprint so I thought at least try to make it an interesting race.

“When I saw the lead go from a minute to 30 seconds quickly, that’s when I knew the race was run.”

Despite being unable to win the race, it was a still a memorable occasion for the 2012 Olympic silver medallist from Otley, who won the world road race title in Richmond, USA, last September.

“The start was brilliant,” she said. “I had a couple of bike problems at the start of the race which made it difficult but it was a humbling moment for me at the start, to be able to be supported by my community and the cycling community, which is just massive now in Yorkshire, made me feel really proud.”

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