Sprinters take stage two as Van Vleuten cedes the lead at the Boels Ladies TourThu 5 Sep 2019
World time trial champion Annemiek van Vleuten ceded her lead in the general classification as stage two of the Boels Ladies Tour came down to a second consecutive bunch sprint.
With bonus seconds available on the line, the prospect of holding onto the leader’s jersey was slim for Van Vleuten and with Lorena Wiebes (Parkhotel Valkenburg) backing up her stage one victory, the defending champion drops down to second in the GC.
Wet, Wet, Wet
The day got underway in miserable conditions as the rain poured down on the peloton as they rolled of Gennep for a series of laps. A lone attacked soon edged clear of the field but it was all back together at the end of the lap with points up for grabs at the intermediate sprint.
The race then settles down as the peloton passed in and out of rain showers throughout the day. Eventually more attacks came as the field passed through the finish for the second time, but the bunch were in no mood to allow a move to go.
A strong and dangerous move then went away after the third passage of the finish line, with several big hitters amongst the five-rider move. But again, the move was shutdown with the sprint teams looking to set it up for another bunch kick for the second day in-a-row.
Australian Gracie Elvin put in a dig as the bunch navigated their way through the narrow roads with around 15-kilometres remaining, but the attacked was soon thwarted by a peloton determined to see the day end in a sprint.
They got their wish in the end as Wiebes repeated her victory of 24-hours earlier, proving to be the fastest in the field once more, while local rider Moniek Tenniglo got amongst the scramble to the line for a to-20 finish.
Annemiek van Vleuten:
"I’m feeling fine after my crash, I have a bit of a sore wrist and I was a bit nervous today, it was hard to grab the handle bar really good but it was less nervous in the bunch, so that was good. It’s always slippery when it’s raining but everyone was more cautious and it was better in the bunch today."
"I knew I would lose the jersey and I felt fine to lose it. If we can have it back in the team it would be good, but that will be because of a stage win and today there wasn’t really the opportunities to attack, but I’m sure tomorrow we will give it a try because there are more ingredients to race."
“It was a rainy day and we were aware of possibilities for echelons, but the wind was instead of on the side, it was most of the time in front or coming from the back, so it made the possibility to create echelons harder and less opportunities to try something.”
“There was good speed in the bunch today, it was less nervous than yesterday. In the end we tried to do something and Gracie was off the front for a while, but we couldn’t avoid a bunch sprint.”
“We didn’t really feel the pressure from the Annemiek being in the jersey, so I think there’s more opportunities in the next few days to maybe get the jersey back and we will race for the stage wins and see what happens there.”
Boels Ladies Tour 2019 Stage 2 Results:
1. Lorena Wiebes (Parkhotel Valkenburg) 2:45:09
2. Kirsten Wild (WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling) ST
3. Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) ST
14. Moniek Tenniglo (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
Boels Ladies Tour 2019 General Classification:
1. Lorena Wiebes (Parkhotel Valkenburg) 5:49:08
2. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:07
3. Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) +0:08
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.