South Africa’s Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (CCC Team) won the queen stage of the Virtual Tour de France, riding away from Sarah Gigante (TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank) in the final 2km of the Mont Ventoux-Chalet Reynard simulation on Zwift.
Moolman-Pasio and Gigante escaped from an elite group with 5km to go on the climb, opening up almost a minute on the chasing group led to the line by TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank’s Lauren Stephens, Leah Dixon and Kristin Faulner.
The efforts of TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank to stack the top 10 ensured the team kept the race lead.
At just 22.9km, stage 5 was the shortest of the Virtual Tour de France. The stage started out flat with a sprint at 7km, won by Brodie Chapman (FDJ-Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) before heading up to Chalet Reynard, a 12.12km simulation of the lower slopes of the Mont Ventoux.
Earlier this year I’d never have dreamed of winning the queen stage of @LeTour … it might be the virtual version … but a big step forward for women’s cycling nonetheless! Thanks @GoZwift for your commitment to equality, it means a lot to the women’s peloton! 📸 @harperjojo pic.twitter.com/jSNT8ASUmp
— Ashleigh Moolman (@ashleighcycling) July 18, 2020
Dani Christmas (Lotto Soudal) was the first to attack on the climb but was quickly reeled in by the peloton, which was now reduced to the main favourites.
Moolman-Pasio put in a surge with around 5km to go that only Gigante could match. Then, making up for last weekend where her Zwift app locked up and she was shut out of stage 4, the South African put in her winning move with 1.7km to go.
‘It was really great to win today for my team CCC-Liv,’ Moolman-Pasio said. ‘Luckily, I had no technical problems today. Last week was a big disappointment with the drop-out.
‘I’m very happy to have had a smooth ride today, and it was great to win the stage. I felt confident,’ Moolman-Pasio said. ‘I did feel smooth and I was keeping the real surge and push for the last few kilometres.
‘I think the racing on Zwift has been really great for women’s cycling. I have a lot of appreciation for Zwift and the push they give women’s cycling. They make it their mission to do everything equal. It’s really good to have forward-thinking brands. When we’re given the platform there’s an appetite to watch our racing.’
In the men’s race, Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) won stage 5 on a simulation of Mont Ventoux that brought competitors as far as Chalet Reynard. Domenico Pozzovivo (NTT) placed second, while South Africa’s Louis Meintjes (NTT) took third place.
The men’s Virtual Tour de France finishes with the sixth stage on the Champs-Élysées on Sunday.