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It was a very exciting afternoon of time trial cycling in Atherstone for Stage 3 of the AJ Bell Women’s Tour.

Demi Vollering moved into the AJ Bell Women’s Tour race lead after a dominant performance in the race’s first-ever individual time trial stage in Atherstone, North Warwickshire, on Wednesday.

The Team SD Worx rider was the only rider to go under the 24-minute mark for the 16.6-kilometre test, with her time of 23:18 beating nearest challenger and newly-crowned UCI Hour Record holder Joss Lowden (Drops – Le Col s/b TEMPUR) by 1:04.

Cllr Peter Butlin, Deputy Leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “What a thoroughly exhilarating afternoon of cycling in Atherstone yesterday, it was great to see the town so abuzz with so many excited spectators who were rewarded with some thrilling cycling. Massive congratulations to Demi Vollering from Team SD Worx who won the stage.

“Warwickshire has a rich history in hosting high-level cycling events having previously played host to legs of both the men's and women's Tour of Britain over the last few years and has also been selected as the location for the Commonwealth Games Road Race in 2022 demonstrating that the county is a world-class location for cycling and cyclists.

“Increasing access to cycling and encouraging it as both a healthy pastime and an environmentally-friendly and sustainable form of transport is a key priority of the county council. High profile events showcasing cycling are important ways of promoting such an important message.

“As we continue to look at cautiously and safely opening up our economy more broadly and welcoming more visitors to the county, as well as being fantastic entertainment for spectators, this event and events like it are of huge economic benefit to the area. It has been an opportunity for local businesses in Atherstone to celebrate and embrace cycling as the time trial came past their front door, as well as for others to maximise on business opportunities from increased customers and visitors to Warwickshire.”

Vollering holds a dominant gap of 1:09 over Juliette Labous (Team DSM), who was fifth on the day. Overnight leader Clara Copponi (FDJ Nouvelle – Aquitaine) finished 11th on the stage and slipped to third overall, 1:19 off the pace.

Lowden moves up to sixth overall and top British rider, 1:47 back on the lead, with fellow Brits Alice Barnes (8th) and Pfeiffer Georgi (10th) also in the top ten.

Demi Vollering, speaking about her Atherstone win, said:  “The start was uphill so I knew I could win it or I could lose it there if I didn’t go full gas. The first 4km I went all out and the middle part was the hardest part.  There was a lot of headwind after the first half of the time trial, which made it really hard. The last part again full gas, everything out.”

Looking ahead to defending her lead as the race moves to the East of England for the final three stages, the SD Worx rider said; “It would be nice of course, but first to recover, so we will see.  We have a good team for it, so I am curious to see how the rest of the week will go.”

The other race classifications remain unchanged with Copponi in the Sigma Sports Points jersey, Nina Kessler (Team TIBCO Silicon Valley Bank) in the Eisberg Sprints jersey, and Elise Chabbey (Canyon SRAM Racing) retaining the ŠKODA Queen of the Mountains jersey.

For full results from stage three, presented by Brother UK, visit: https://www.womenstour.co.uk/race/2019-results/

Highlights of Stage Three are on ITV4 at 20:00 on Wednesday 6 October and available on demand via the ITV Hub.

Speaking after the stage North Warwickshire Borough Council Leader, Cllr David Wright said; “What a wonderful day for Atherstone! We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the buzz of hosting the AJ Bell Women’s Tour first-ever time trial here today, it was fantastic to welcome crowds back into the town again. Huge congratulations to Team SD Worx's Demi Vollering who takes victory with the fastest time of the day and good luck to all the riders for the remainder of the Tour.

“The Women’s Tour never fails to bring anything but an extremely well organised event, huge thanks to them and all our Borough Council officers who have worked incredibly hard to ensure the day was a success. Thank you also to all our local businesses and residents who have been supportive and accommodating, I hope those of you who attended event and all the visitors to the town had a great day.”

Stage Four of the AJ Bell Women’s Tour takes place in Southend-on-Sea with riders facing a 117.8-kilometre (73.3-mile) stage between Shoeburyness and Southend’s Western Esplanade, the first time that the town has hosted the event.

The AJ Bell Women’s Tour is sponsored by AJ Bell, one of the UK’s leading online investment platforms, helping people invest for the long term via ISAs, pensions and general investment accounts.  It has a rich history of supporting elite level sport including badminton, cricket, rugby, squash and triathlon, and recently sponsored the men’s AJ Bell Tour of Britain in September, won by Wout van Aert.

More information about the Women’s Tour can be found online: https://www.womenstour.co.uk/

Find out more about the Teams taking part: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/news/article/2289/world-s-best-cycling-teams-announced-for-the-women-s-tour-coming-to-warwickshire-in-october-2021

Warwickshire High Sheriff, Min Willoughby de Broke, opened proceedings in Atherstone this afternoon having recently completed a gruelling 200+ miles cycling challenge across the length and breadth of Warwickshire. To find out more about that and support her fundraising campaign, visit: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/news/article/2421/the-high-sheriff-s-big-bike-ride-showcasing-the-best-of-warwickshire

Published: 7th October 2021