Fifth place for Van Vleuten in a rainy Dwars door Vlaanderen women’s raceWed 28 Mar 2018
World time trial champion Annemiek van Vleuten finished in fifth place today for Mitchelton-SCOTT in the rainy mid-week Belgian classics Dwars door Vlaanderen.
Van Vleuten was strong enough to make it into a select elite group after a climb with 40kilometres to go, which survived all the way to the finish line where Ellen Van Dijk (Team Sunweb) claimed the victory.
Côte de Trieu split
The first part of the 117kilometre race saw multiple riders try to attack and form a breakaway, however nobody was given much freedom to establish a gap. It wasn't until the climbs came after 77kilometres of racing that the real action began.
On the second climb, the Côte de Trieu, a two kilometre climb with a maximum gradient of 11percent, Van Vleuten attacked and six riders followed. Ellen Van Dijk (Team Sunweb), Floortje Mackaij (Team Sunweb), Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM), Amy Pieters (Boels-Dolmans), Ashleigh Moolman-Paso (Cervelo-Bigla) and Malgorzata Jasinska (Movistar) broke away and slowly opened up a gap to form the winning breakaway of the race.
Eugenia Bujak (BTC city) was able to bridge across to the leaders soon after, but with the peloton split in to groups behind, there was no real organised chase and the leaders increased their advantage to over one and a half minutes.
Race winning move
Once the leaders knew they were safe ahead of the peloton, the race against each other began and with two riders from Sunweb in the move, they were able to play the game and attack one after each other. Inside the final five kilometres, former world time trial champion Van Dijk attacked away from the seven other riders and was able to hold on to take the victory in Waregem.
In just her second race back after competing at the track world championships and after a training block at altitude, Van Vleuten showed her form on the climbs today, able to force the race winning split. This gave her a good ‘hit-out’ and test her legs in the build up to Sunday’s WorldTour goal, Ronde van Vlaanderen.
Annemiek van Vleuten - 5th place
"It was very cold with a lot of rain, I was really cold but after I got my rain jacket it was much better. I think we rode really well with Jolien (D’hoore), Gracie (Elvin) and (Sarah) Roy all the time in the front together which was really important today.”
“We had a plan to make it hard on the Côte de Trieu, so I attacked there, only unfortunately I got in a breakaway with too similar riders. The Sunweb girls attacked one-by-one and it was very hard for me to follow them, a couple of times I got maybe five metres from them. They played it very well with the two of them and in the end I could not follow Ellen when she broke away, and also I was super on my limit to follow them.”
“I think I had a good feeling, coming into Flanders it was a good test especially on the Côte de Trieu I felt really strong. The team was really nice to ride well together all in front, it was just a bit of a disappointment for our team not to have two girls there in the final.”
Dwars door Vlaanderen women results:
1. Ellen Van Dijk (Team Sunweb)
2. Amy Pieters (Boels-Dolmans)
3. Floortje Mackaij (Team Sunweb)
5. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-SCOTT)
Photos courtesy of Getty Images