Virtual Tour de France: Woods and Moolman-Pasio crown themselves on the Queen-Stage
July 18 th 2020 - 17:11
The queen-stage of the Virtual Tour de France has seen Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (CCC-Liv) claim summit victories on Saturday. NTT Pro Cycling placed all four of their riders in the top 7 of the stage to increase their lead on the general classification. In the women’s race, Moolman-Pasio took the win ahead of the wearer of the yellow jersey Sarah Gigante, followed by her teammate Lauren Stephens. Their team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank opens a massive overall gap on the eve of the final stage, on the Champs-Élysées circuit.
French star Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), American climber Katie Hall (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team), Australian ITT World champion Rohan Dennis (Team Ineos)… 150 riders (88 males and 62 females) are part of the pelotons riding stage 5 of the Virtual Tour de France on Saturday, as part of the solidarity events aiming to raise funds for charity partners. They take on 22.9km with a massive climb replicating on Zwift the slopes of the infamous Mont Ventoux.
The women go first and Kirsten Wild (Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team) enjoys the opening flat stretch to show her power, already pushing 628 watts in the intermediate sprint. The Dutch rider then lets the pure climbers steal the show in the final 14 uphill kilometres. The pace is hard from the bottom and the British rider Dani Christmas (Lotto-Soudal) momentarily opens a gap before Sarah Gigante’s Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio’s CCC-Liv reel her in.
With the support of her husband Carl Pasio (a renowned mountain-biker) to hydrate herself, Moolman-Pasio makes a move inside the last 6km and only Gigante manages to follow her with the yellow jersey on her shoulders. Keeping up with the solid reputation she built on Zwift in the recent weeks, Moolman-Pasio eventually takes the win with a 23” gap to Gigante. Lauren Stephens (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) finishes 3rd, trailing by 1’53”.
With two riders on the podium, Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank tops the overall standings with 409 points on the eve of the final stage. Drops Cycling have 252 points and Canyon//SRAM Racing are third with 247.
Woods vs NTT
The men’s race is also up to a flying start. Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale) dominates the intermediate sprint. Then it’s up to the best climbers as Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling Team) tears the race into pieces. Riding from their team’s headquarters in Lucca (Italy), Domenico Pozzovivo and Louis Meintjes (NTT Pro Cycling) are the last ones to follow the Canadian rider. Their teammates Stefan De Bod and Ben O’Connor are also in the front positions, alongside Eddie Dunbar (Ineos).
Woods keeps going and his consistant effort around 7 watts/kg is too much for every one. He goes solo in the last 3km to take victory ahead of three NTT riders: Pozzovivo, Meintjes and the youngster Stefan De Bod. Ben O’Connor completes this collective performance with a place of 7th.
NTT’s efforts are rewarded with a strong lead on the general classification: 391 points for the African team, while Rally Cycling have 219. EF Pro Cycling are third with 175 points on the eve of the Champs-Élysées parade.