Marlen Reusser sprints to second place; Demi Vollering gets controversial time penalty

Marlen Reusser sprints to second place; Demi Vollering gets controversial time penalty

Unlucky Tour day for Team SD Worx


Team SD Worx did not have the most fortunate day at the Tour de France Femmes. In the morning, it already became clear that Lorena was unable to start due to stomach problems. Furthermore, Demi Vollering lost 20 seconds due to a penalty imposed on her by the jury for turning back behind the team car after a flat tyre 61 kilometres from the finish.

The fifth stage from Onet-le-Château to Albi was won by Germany's Ricarda Bauernfeind who crossed the line victoriously after a solo. Marlen Reusser finished second after trailing Liane Lippert at the finish. The Swiss champion initiated the chase a little too late. 

Reusser: "Of course I see this as a missed opportunity. We probably had the fastest of that group in the first bunch with Lotte Kopecky. Maybe we waited a bit too long and miscalculated a bit. Although I do want to pay compliments to Ricarda Bauernfeind who has richly deserved this victory."

Lotte Kopecky won the sprint for fourth place behind Bauernfeind, Reusser and Lippert. She defended her yellow jersey with verve and managed to extend her lead in the battle for the green jersey. "This is indeed a missed opportunity, but our focus remains the general classification," she concurred Marlen Reusser. "We miscalculated a bit and thought we would catch Ricarda Baurfeirnd back, but she was super strong. Marlen rode full but didn't get any support. That was probably because I was still there. It is what it is in itself also nice that the riders who go full for the attack are rewarded."

Biggest setback of the day was the 20-second time penalty Demi Vollering received from the UCI jury for riding too long behind the team car at 61 kilometres from the line when she returned to the peloton after a puncture.

Sport director Anna van der Breggen: "This time penalty falls raw on us. I cycled at the highest level for a long time. It used to be allowed to come back behind the car after equipment failure or a flat tyre. The penalty makes it seem that we are doing something totally unheard of, while in reality, riders return behind the car every day. Not bringing your rider back after she was dropped herself is logical. But everyone understands that a sport director tries to help his rider after bad luck. So that is why bringing back behind the car a rider who has been knocked back for that reason is usually tolerated. It is the first time I have experienced such a punishment. The moment the commissioner indicated we should stop, Demi rode from car to car herself back to the tail of the peloton. Therefore, for Demi, this punishment is unjustified."

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