Mikayla Harvey of Bigla Pro Cycling and Niamh Fisher-Black of Torelli Sport have imposed themselves strongly on one of women’s cycling’s most exciting new races at the Women’s Tour of Scotland.
Despite the three-day event being cut to two as the first stage of racing was cancelled partway through the day because of terrible conditions (reminiscent of stage 19 of the Tour de France), the two remaining days of competition provided plenty of entertainment and really strong performances from Kiwis Harvey and Fisher-Black. Both had picked up points for the QOM classification in stage 1 prior to the stage being stopped, and they carried their desire to impact the race into stages 2 and 3.
Day 2 saw Fisher-Black hold her ground in the leading group that crossed the line at the head of the race into Glasgow. The stage was won by Alison Jackson of TIBCO-SVB who – supported by Kiwi teammate Sharlotte Lucas – sprinted to the win ahead of Emma White of Rally UHC Cycling Women and Stine Borgli of Norway. Fisher-Black crossed the line in 9th place to sit 11th overall, just 10 seconds shy of the lead of Jackson. The result also saw her sit in 4th in the young rider classification with a day remaining.
For Bigla Pro Cycling stage 2 saw Leah Thomas end the day in the lead in the points classification, with more to come from Bigla in the finale. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, so often the leader of the team in a GC campaign, looked to have the potential to go after different accolades as she finished stage 2 leading a Bigla 1-2-3 in the QOM classification with Elise Chabbey and Leah Thomas in second and third respectively.
The final battle into Edinburgh was where Bigla’s strength came to the fore. Mikayla Harvey was in super domestique mode as she shepherded teammates Leah Thomas and Elise Chabbey towards the finish line; the two able to hold their ground in the closing stages to contest the stage in a small group of just under 10 riders while Harvey finished just a few seconds behind them.
It proved a great day out for Bigla as Thomas and Chabbey finished first and second on the stage. Thomas’ win was enough to send her up the GC standings three places to first, succeeding Alison Jackson at the top of the leaderboard and claiming the overall win by 5 seconds with Stine Borgli of Norway third at 7 seconds.
Mikayla Harvey ended the Tour of Scotland 14th overall at 28 seconds behind her teammate; her role having been very much a domestique’s throughout. Harvey was unfortunate to miss out on the best young rider’s jersey, finishing just 5 seconds behind Bigla’s Nikola Nosková. Niamh Fisher-Black was similarly close to the top of the young rider’s standings in 8th place at 6 seconds.
Completing a Bigla clean sweep with Leah Thomas taking the GC and points classifications was Uttrup Ludwig who produced a final flurry of points to secure the QOM classification.