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Van Vleuten wins the penultimate stage of Emakumeen XXX Bira to make it a hat-trick of victories for

Sat 20 May 2017

Durango-Durango winner Annemiek van Vleuten took ORICA-SCOTT’s third consecutive victory today on the Queen stage in Emakumeen XXX Bira.

The Dutch time trial champion was able to take the victory from a significantly reduced group after attacks came in the final kilometres of the stage.

The win makes it a hat-trick of different rider victories after sucess from Amanda Spratt and Katrin Garfoot in the last two days. The result also backs up Van Vleuten's win in Durango-Durango on Tuesday. 

“It feels a little bit strange to be the winner," Van Vleuten explained. "I am not at my top level yet but I know it's not far away so it is really good for my confidence."

"Sometimes in WorldTour races you have to follow a bit more but now we have the responsibility here and I think that is really good for our team spirit.

"It may look like it is easy as now we have won three stages, but there are some really good riders here like Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervelo-Bigla) for example. She was able to drop us all today around four kilometres to go and so we were put on the back foot a little at that moment.

"I managed to get back up to her and it shows what you can do when you have a strong team. This week is a good experience for us all to ride together, Ashleigh is a strong climber but we worked very well together and played the game, which is the fun thing about this week."

Yesterday’s stage winner Katrin Garfoot finished the day in eighth place, just six seconds down to remain in the race leader's jersey for another day, with van Vleuten moving up to second place and stage two winner Amanda Spratt in third place.

"Our main focus now is obviously to try and win the tour overall," sport director Gene Bates said. "Tomorrow is another really hard stage but today the girls showed what they can do, they didn't panic when Ashleigh attacked even though they were on the back foot a little. They managed their efforts and paced themselves well."

How it happened:

Stage four, the penultimate stage of the Basque tour, was a short one at just 58kilometres in length. Nevertheless, it proved to be one of the tougher stages of the tour with a second category climb and a lengthy first category climb up to a summit finish.

ORICA-SCOTT began the stage in a dominant position and looked to extend their overall lead with Garfoot wearing the race leader's jersey and Spratt in second place overall. 

After 20kilometres of racing four riders opened up an advantage of one-minute. Causing no real threat to the overall standings, the bunch was happy to leave them dangling out front in the early stages.

As the peloton raced over the second category climb of the day the situation changed and the race regrouped before two more riders broke free with ORICA-SCOTT setting the tempo to reel them back in ahead of the final climb.

The challenging first category climb, reaching 1200metres above sea-level, caused a change to the race situation and the duo were finally caught.

Georgia Williams was the next rider to attack and the Kiwi rider led the race into the final four kilometres. In the end it was Van Vleuten that stormed ahead and took the race victory to also move into the mountains and points classification lead.

With one stage remaining the team currently fill all three podium spots in the overall classification.

Emakumeen XXX Bira stage four results:

1. Annemiek van Vleuten (ORICA-SCOTT) 1:50:47
2. Nikola Noskova (Be-Pink) ST
3. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervelo-Bigla) ST

General classification after stage four:

1. Katrin Garfoot (ORICA-SCOTT) 7:37:59
2. Annemiek van Vleuten (ORICA-SCOTT) +0:28
3. Amanda Spratt (ORICA-SCOTT) +0:30

Photo courtesy of ©TDWsport.com

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