Van Vleuten takes sixth in the Women's WorldTour race Gent-Wevelgem

Sun 27 Mar 2016

The fourth round of the UCI Women's WorldTour Gent-Wevelgem, saw former Tour of Flanders winner Annemiek Van Vleuten race to a respectable sixth place.

As predicted the hilly middle section of the race split up the peloton and Van Vleuten found herself alongside Sarah Roy in a small leading group after the climbs. It wasn't until the final ten kilometres when Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) rode away solo to take the victory.

After the race Van Vleuten was happy with her performance and although she didn't come away with a podium result, today shows the consistency in her form, a positive for the races to come.

"It was a super hard day with a lot of wind from the start," explained Van Vleuten. "The main split went after we had the hills, there was a group of twenty and myself and Sarah Roy were there for ORICA-AIS."

"There were four riders from Boels-Dolmans, so we had a hard job to cover all the attacks with just two of us, but I think we did a great job with that. In the end Chantal attacked from behind and me and two others rode really hard to try and bring her back. We really gave maximum to close it but we were already so tired from all the other attacks and I think Chantal was pretty fresh when she attacked, she didn't have to do to much work before. 

"We were a bit out numbered but I was really happy today with my form, already on the Kemmelberg I was there with Lizzie Armitstead and Emma Johannson so the legs are good.

"I tried and I hoped for a good result. I really enjoy racing with the team, today we missed a bit like Gracie Elvin didn't have such a good day, and normally she is always in the final so we definitely missed having her up there.

"I think there will be a day were we all are having a good day and we can all be there in the final, then it will be a great day for the team, hopefully next Sunday."

How it happened:

The riders headed to the start line in Ieper, welcomed by pleasant weather for Easter Sunday in Belgium. The race was the fourth round of the Women's WorldTour series with two ascents of the famous Kemmelberg making for a challenging race.

Despite fairly strong winds the peloton remained in tact for the first 30kilometres, however once the riders drew closer towards the first time up the climbs, the large peloton finally began to split. ORICA-AIS kept themselves out of trouble and in good position entering the tough cobbled climb.

As predicted, over the climb the peloton split even further and a group of 27 riders led the race including Van Vleuten, Roy, Amanda Spratt and Elvin.

With still 35kilometres from the top of the final climb to the finish line, the front split had over one minute on the second chasing bunch but with narrow, open roads the wind soon effected the front group and they began to split up further.

Van Vleuten and Roy managed to keep themselves in the front ten that broke free and it wasn't until the final ten kilometres when Chantal Blaaki (Boels-Dolmans) rode away solo and held on for the victory. Van Vleuten and Roy worked fiercely in the chase behind but were not able to close the gap. 

Van Vleuten finished in a respectable sixth place, another top ten placing for the Dutch rider and ORICA-AIS, with big results looking more and more likely for her in the near future.

ORICA-AIS are back in action on Wednesday 30th for Pajot Hills Classic.

Gent-Wevelgem Women's results:

1. Chantal Blaaki (Boels-Dolmans) 2:56:00
2. Lisa Brennauer (Cnayon-Sram) +1:24
3. Lucinda Brand (Rabobank-Liv) +1:24
6. Annemiek Van Vleuten (ORICA-AIS) +1:24