Marlen Reusser, of Team SD Worx, an esteemed time trialist and Liane Lippert, stage 2 winner from Movistar, were strong contenders, but ultimately trailed behind Bauernfeind. Despite the perceived uncertainty of her lead in the final 10km, Bauernfeind managed to maintain her advantage, crossing the finish line a solid 22 seconds before Reusser and Lippert.
Bauernfeind, notably the youngest stage winner in the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift history, was in awe of her achievement. “To be honest I can’t believe it, it’s incredible,” Bauernfeind expressed. “I had the support from my teammates, from the cars behind – everyone helped me and supported us. It was just an incredible team ride. We had to chase the first group because we missed it and my teammates did such a fantastic job. It was up to me. I tried to attack and it worked out. We waited for the win the whole year – now we did it – it’s fantastic.”
The race took an unexpected turn as Team SD Worx’s decision to delay their chase led to a disappointing second place for Reusser. Race leader, Lotte Kopecky from the same team, led a smaller group to finish 32 seconds behind Bauernfeind.
In terms of general classification, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio from AG Insurance-Soudal-Quickstep emerged as a winner. Benefiting from the last time bonuses and a 20-second penalty for Demi Vollering (Team SD Worx) due to illegal drafting, Moolman-Pasio ascended to second place.
The stage wasn’t without its hardships, causing several contenders, including European Champion Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx), to drop out. However, the race saw new polka dot jersey holder Yara Kastelijn (Fenix-Deceuninck) shine in the climbs. Meanwhile, Bauernfeind, following her remarkable win, secured the ninth place in the general classification.
The exciting race unfolded with an 11-rider attack failing to establish a significant lead. The peloton behind them was quick to respond, leading to a much different finish than a typical sprint stage. The relentless pace ultimately became too much for some, including former World Champion Elisa Balsamo (Lidl-Trek). Despite minor mishaps and punctures, the race saw determined performances, particularly from Bauernfeind. In the final stretch, she managed to hold off a late charge from Reusser and Lippert, cementing her victory in the challenging stage.
Stage 5 results
1. BAUERNFEIND Ricarda (CANYON//SRAM Racing) 03:07:20
2. REUSSER Marlen (Team SD Worx) + 22
3. LIPPERT Liane (Movistar Team) + 22
4. KOPECKY Lotte (Team SD Worx) + 32
5. PALADIN Soraya (CANYON//SRAM Racing) + 32
6. MARKUS Riejanne (Team Jumbo-Visma) + 32
7. SANTESTEBAN Ane (Team Jayco-AlUla) + 32
8. MOOLMAN-PASIO Ashleigh (AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step) + 32
9. LONGO BORGHINI Elisa (Lidl-Trek) + 32
10. DEMAY Coralie (St Michel-Mavic-Auber 93) + 32
General classification after stage 5
1. KOPECKY Lotte (Team SD Worx) 18:55:17
2. MOOLMAN-PASIO Ashleigh (AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step) + 49
3. LONGO BORGHINI Elisa (Lidl-Trek) + 51
4. NIEWIADOMA Katarzyna (CANYON//SRAM Racing) + 51
5. VAN VLEUTEN Annemiek (Movistar Team) + 51
6. KASTELIJN Yara (Fenix-Deceuninck) + 01:00
7. VOLLERING Demi (Team SD Worx) + 01:03
8. LIPPERT Liane (Movistar Team) + 01:25
9. BAUERNFEIND Ricarda (CANYON//SRAM Racing) + 01:38
10. LABOUS Juliette (Team dsm-firmenich) + 01:48