COTSWOLDS racer Sharon Laws has underlined her standing as one of the best ‘climbers’ in women’s cycling by retaining her Queen of the Mountains polka dot jersey after day three of the inaugural Friends Life Women's Tour which has brought crowds out in their thousands.

Laws, the 2012 national road race champion from Bourton-on-the-Water, has just a narrow three-point lead over Jolanda Neff of Switzerland with two days of the race remaining. The pair are well clear of the remainder.

Laws, who now races for the American-based United Healthcare Pro Cycling team, finished first and second in Friday’s two climbing phases on the Felixstowe to Clacton-on Sea stage.

Laws lies 28th in the overall race which is being led by the Dutch World and Olympic champion Marianne Vos from Emma Johansson of Sweden.

Best British rider is Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) in fifth, 18 seconds behind Vos. Laws’ young team-mate Hannah Barnes is in seventh.

The race finishes in Bury St Edmunds on Sunday.