Van Vleuten takes a consecutive stage victory despite a wrong turn at the Boels Ladies TourWed 29 Aug 2018
Yesterday's stage winner Annemiek van Vleuten had a phenomenal ride on today's second stage of the Boels Ladies Tour after leading the race solo in the final 20km, before taking a wrong turn with less than five kilometres to go.
Despite the setback, the Mitchelton-SCOTT rider was still able to hold on for a consecutive stage victory and extend her overall lead.
A hard hilly day
The 132km stage featured seven laps of a circuit with a narrow steep climb into Beek to contend with each time. As the peloton fought up the climb, riders continued to drop off the pace, yet despite multiple attacks no moves were able to stick in the opening stages.
With 60km to go, finally two riders broke the elastic and were able to open up an advantage over the peloton. Rosella Ratto (Cylance) and Amalie Dideriksen (Boels-Dolmans) hovered in front and reached a maximum advantage of one minute.
Mitchelton-SCOTT sent all of their riders to the front of the peloton to pick up the pace and draw back the duo ahead of the penultimate ascent, where Van Vleuten launched an explosive attack with only two other riders, Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) and Elisa Longo-Borghini (Wiggle-High5) able to follow.
The peloton fragmented in her wake as she continued to drive the pace. A small chase group including teammate Amanda Spratt bridged across after the descent and immediately after Spratt counter attacked to force other riders to chase.
Spratt's move was the perfect launchpad for van Vleuten as once she was caught, the race leader was ready to pounce and made another fierce attack and was able to breakaway solo.
A wrong turn
The world time trial champion continued to extend her solo lead out in front to around 40seconds, with the reduced chasing peloton unable to reel her back as the kilometres ticked down.
Then, with less than five kilometres to go, it looked all over for van Vleuten as she took a wrong turn off course and lost valuable seconds.
With sheer strength and determination, the 35-year-old returned to the course and continued her momentum but hovered dangerously close to the fast chasing peloton with a slender 15seconds advantage
It proved to be enough as she crossed the line for a second stage victory and extended her overall lead in the race.
Annemiek van Vleuten
"I have mixed feeling because it was a crazy final, there was no motorbike rider in front of me, I did a recon of the course so I did know it but there was maybe some road works there and I saw some arrows pointing there so I thought maybe they changed the course that is why I went the wrong way.
"We had an awesome attack, we played it really well with Anna van der Breggen and Elisa Longo-Borghini in the front. Anna didn't want to ride, I don't know why, so I started to attack and then Spratt came with speed from behind at an amazing moment so then she had to chase. Then I took over with a good attack and then Anna was exposed with only Spratt in the wheel.
"I thought I lost the race and lost my time gap after the wrong turn but it was a good day in the end, the teamwork with Spratty was awesome and also Spratty can take a lot of confidence, she was super strong in the final attack.
"The girls also closed the gap in front really well so it was a good team effort and team win today so I look forward to racing with the team tomorrow."
Boels Ladies Tour results:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 3:28
2. Eugenia Bujak (BTC City) +0:12
3. Elena Cecchini (Canyon-SRAM) +0:12
General classification after stage 2:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 3:32
2. Eugenia Bujak (BTC City) +0:29
3. Ellen van Dijk (Sunweb) +0:30
Photos courtesy of Getty Images