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Van Vleuten powers to fifth place in the Women's WorldTour race, Ronde van Drenthe

Sat 11 Mar 2017

Dutch time trial champion Annemiek Van Vleuten finished in fifth place today in the second Women’s WorldTour event, Ronde van Drenthe.

With 15kilometres to go a group of four riders attacked from the leading group of 15 which included Van Vleuten for ORICA-SCOTT. 

Despite a huge effort from chase group the quadruplet successfully stayed away to the finish with Van Vleuten jumping clear to claim fifth spot ahead of the remaining chase group riders.

Sport director Martin Barras was pleased with the result given the unfavourable circumstances in the finale.

“In the circumstances today fifth was the best result we could have had so we are satisfied with that,” said Barras. “The team raced really really well, we just made a few tactical mistakes after the first time up the VAM-Berg.”

“That put us on the back foot a little, we tried to recover from this with Jess Allen getting away solo. It wasn’t the ideal situation but we wanted to take control of the race.”

The second time up the VAM-Berg climb was where the winning split occurred, as 16riders broke away from the main peloton leaving Van Vleuten as the lone ORICA-SCOTT rider up front.

“We just came up short on the second time up the VAM-Berg and from then on we were playing catch up. The girls worked to try and merge the two groups back together, they got within 10seconds but never quite made it.

“Considering the circumstances Annemiek did a really great job to finish fifth. She was always up against it once the four riders had a gap. At first tried to bridge across, but with very little support from behind, with a lot of the girls teammates in the front it was hard.

“For the other teams it was very well done, very well executed today and for Annemiek she got the best of a bad situation.”

How it happened:

The seconds Women’s WorldTour event began fairly steady with the peloton remaining intact for the first 50kilometres.

With a middle section consisting of seven cobble sections, the riders bided their time before significant split occurred over the gnarly cobble roads.

ORICA-SCOTT remained active at the head of the peloton, with Allen trying her luck attacking solo as the peloton completed two ascents of the VAM-Berg climb.

Allen was given no freedom and was quickly drawn in as the main split of the day occurred when Ellen Van Dijk (Sunweb) attacked and rode out to a 20second. 

A group of 15riders formed behind with Van Vleuten finding herself quite out-numbered. The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road race winner sat in the wheels whilst Boels-Dolmans led the chase to reel in Van Dijk, making the catch with just 20kilometres to go.

The flat finish and absence of wind made for an exciting conclusion to the day with numerous attacks from Teams Sunweb and Boels-Dolmans. 

Eventually four riders, Lucinda Brand (Sunweb), Elena Cecchini (Canyon-Sram), Amalie Diderikse (Boels-Dolmans) and Elisa Longo-Borghini (Wiggle-High5) broke free leaving Van Vleuten in a tough position, forced to contribute to the chase. 

Further riders dropped from the lead group leaving the four and just seven riders behind, with only four of those riders driving the chase.

In the end the gap proved too much to close and Van Vleuten used her experience and attacked in the final metres, gaining a small advantage to finish in fifth place ahead of the chase group.

Ronde van Drenthe results:

1. Amalie Diderikse (Boels-Dolmans)
2. Elena Cecchini (Canyon-Sram)
3. Lucinda Brand (Sunweb)
5. Annemiek van Vleuten (ORICA-SCOTT)

Photos courtesy of ©TDWsport.com

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