Tour of Britain Women stage 4: Ruby Roseman-Gannon pips Majerus in photo finish as Kopecky wins GC

SD Worx-Protime try to gift win to Christine Majerus and complete clean sweep, but Australian just comes through on the line as Luxembourg rider celebrates early

Clock13:25, Sunday 9th June 2024
Ruby Roseman-Gannon won stage 4 of the Tour of Britain Women

© Getty Images

Ruby Roseman-Gannon won stage 4 of the Tour of Britain Women

Ruby Roseman-Gannon (Liv AlUla Jayco) snatched stage 4 of the Tour of Britain Women in a photo finish ahead of Christine Majerus (SD Worx-Protime), who celebrated too early and broke the streak of SD Worx dominance at this year’s edition of the race.

An elite group of favourites contested the sprint in Leigh after a punchy, up-and-down stage around Greater Manchester, with Majerus sitting up just a fraction too soon as the Australian champion Roseman-Gannon lunged past her.

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It was a messy sprint to end a brutal day of racing in dismal Mancunian conditions, as Majerus’ teammate Lotte Kopecky continued her dominant season by sealing the overall title as almost all the GC contenders finished together.

She crossed the line fourth in Leigh, just behind SD Worx’s main sprinter Lorena Wiebesherself a recent victim of celebrating a win too early – in third.

Anna Henderson (Great Britain) took second overall, 17 seconds behind Kopecky, but Letizia Paternoster (Liv AlUla Jayco) suffered a puncture just outside the final 3km to go, shedding time and her podium place as Majerus received the consolation prize of third on GC, 34 seconds back on the green jersey.

Pfeiffer Georgi (dsm-firmenich PostNL), a lively presence in the peloton all day, remained fourth overall as Paternoster slipped to fifth, just six seconds outside the podium spots.

“I still can’t believe it. It wasn’t the plan to go for me, we were working all in for Letizia, she’s been riding so well but she had a puncture and I asked in the radio, should I come back, and they said no, just focus on the finish. So that’s what I did, and I definitely didn’t expect to cross the line first - I can’t believe it still," Roseman-Gannon said at the finish.

“You just have to go into race mode when you hear that, I knew SD Worx were the best wheels to follow. I think they were riding for Majerus, I feel a bit bad, I know she works so hard for them and I know they really wanted to give it to her, but I’m also quite happy to take it myself!

“Our team has really stepped up this year, at Andalucia just last week we won with 1-2-3 on the podium. We’re having such a great time together and I’m so excited for the rest of this year with the team.”

How the stage unfolded

Billed as the second most challenging day of the race after the opener between Welshpool and Llandudno, this was a short but punchy affair: 99km starting at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester and finishing in Leigh.

Like much racing in the UK, the route profile featured no really hard, long climbs, but an up-and-down slog all day taking in 1,400m in climbing including two category 1 ascents.

Against a backdrop of classic British summer – cool, grey drizzle – the riders rolled out at British Cycling’s HQ and the home of the GB squad just outside the city centre, where even Yorkshire’s Lizzie Deignan appeared to be feeling the chill.

The fairly long neutralised start soon got the riders warm, however, as the day started as it meant to go on – uphill. And the weather didn’t seem to deter the crowds either, with plenty of spectators lining the roads across Greater Manchester to watch the peloton roll through.

There was a flurry of early attacks but none could stick in the first few kilometres, with Krista Doebel-Hickok (Human Powered Health) the first to successfully get up the road with around 9km raced. She established an 18 second gap as the peloton tackled narrow roads on the edge of the Pennines, and headed onto the day’s first category 1 climb – Grains Bar – alone.

Averaging 8.5%, the climb peaked at 11.6% with some of its toughest sections at the very start. Teniel Campbell (Liv AlUla Jayco) performed a blistering turn on the front to distance several riders at the back of the peloton, with the QOM jersey of Deignan sheltering just behind her. Doebel-Hickok was reeled in, while sprinters Wiebes and Charlotte Kool (dsm-firmenich PostNL) kept pace with the climbers.

Lifeplus Wahoo’s torrid Tour continued as Heidi Franz crashed into a grassy verge inside the final 500m up the climb, but she managed to rejoin the main group.

Deignan goes solo

Deignan launched a short sprint to take the maximum 10 points at the top of the climb ahead of Great Britain National teammate Anna Henderson and Kopecky, adding to her lead in the QoM classification. She built on her advantage to surge ahead on the steep descent with the peloton reluctant to give chase.

The former Olympic medallist extended her gap to 30 seconds and appeared unsure of whether to commit to the solo move, but SD Worx-Protime’s hesitation in dragging her back soon meant that she became the virtual race lead.

Kopecky’s team were forced to take to the front while Henderson and her Great Britain teammates could sit back and relax in their slipstream.

With Deignan’s lead up to just under a minute despite SD Worx-Protime’s best efforts, Kool launched a surprise attack to bridge across as the road pitched upward once more and the rain began to fall more heavily.

The Dutchwoman couldn’t make the jump and her team hit the front, while Deignan remained out in front alone, claiming maximum points on the second category 1 climb – the Ramsbottom Rake – to secure the QoM jersey. The peloton thinned to a small, select group up the 10% climb as riders and camera motorbikes alike suffered.

An elite group of four chasers led by Henderson, Letizia Paternoster, Kopecky and Pfeiffer Georgi claimed the remaining points, but with Henderson sitting on to avoid bringing the group of favourites back to her teammate, that elite bunch began to swell as riders caught up.

Deignan clung on despite battering winds and the ever-encroaching chasing group, but she was eventually reeled in near Egerton after just under 45km alone in front.

She remained in the front group of major favourites, with a chasing group behind led by Elynor Bäckstedt (Great Britain) and St Michel-Mavic-Auber 93 trying to drag themselves back on. That task was made significantly more difficult as Majerus launched a move off the front, swiftly joined by a suffering Deignan, Wiebes, Josie Talbot (Cofidis) and Roseman-Gannon.

All three groups merged soon after and the pace ramped up as the intermediate sprint at Horwich approached, with teams jostling for position to claim the bonus seconds. Wiebes and Kopecky led out Majerus to the four bonus seconds, just ahead of Paternoster, who took two, while Wiebes took the remaining second.

A chaotic finale

Shortly after the sprint, with just 24km left to race, Henderson made a move, conscious of the fast sprinters in the main group – mainly the ever-present threat of Wiebes, gunning for a second successive stage win.

Henderson was quickly caught but as the bunch tackled another sharp uncategorised climb Georgi hit the front and her turn of pace immediately shelled riders out the back. The top four riders on GC – Kopecky, Henderson, Paternoster and Georgi – escaped up the road, establishing a 20 second lead over a group that mostly contained their own teammates and was content to see them get away.

That was the case for a while until Wiebes launched to try to bridge across, and a succession of attacks from Paternoster and Georgi forced race leader Kopecky to close those gaps. The dynamic shifted once more as Wiebes – the only pure sprinter among the leaders – joined the leading quartet with just under 10km to go and the attacks continued to come, including from the chasers.

Paternoster – third overall at the start of the day – suffered a disastrously-timed rear wheel puncture inside the final 4km as the groups merged and with all still to play for. With the puncture occurring outside 3km to go she did not receive the same time as the leading group she was in, falling down the general classification to fifth.

In a messy and chaotic finale the riders were strung out on a sweeping bend into the final 200m, when Kopecky attempted to lead out Majerus but was forced to freewheel after establishing a small gap. The Luxembourg national champion appeared to quickly get back on her wheel but made the mistake of celebrating on the line, allowing Roseman-Gannon to surge past her and snatch victory by the narrowest of margins.

Eline Jansen (VolkerWessels) won the best young rider classification and finished fifth overall, while Deignan was rewarded with the day’s combativity award alongside the QoM jersey. The whole team of Lifeplus Wahoo earned the overall combativity award after being robbed of all their bikes overnight before stage 2, continuing thanks to the generosity of other teams donating their spares.

Race Results


au flag


Liv AlUla Jayco

2H 37' 51"


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MAJERUS Christine

Team SD Worx-Protime



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Team SD Worx-Protime



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Team SD Worx-Protime



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VolkerWessels Women's Pro Cycling Team



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GEORGI Pfeiffer

Team dsm-firmenich PostNL



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Great Britain



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Great Britain



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Cofidis Women Team



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Great Britain


Provided by FirstCycling

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Tour of Britain Women


9 Jun - 16 Jun

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