Van der Breggen wins women's Amstel Gold Race

Deignan makes it a Boels-Dolmans one-two

Olympic road champion Anna van der Breggen soloed to victory in the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday off the back of a perfectly-timed attack, with her teammate Lizzie Deignan winning a five-up sprint for second place to make it a Boels-Dolmans one-two. 

Boels-Dolmans had indicated it planned to target the three Ardennes races, but a slower start to the team’s spring compared to a dominant 2016 classics season has invited endless questions over the last month. The one-two punch at the sixth round of the UCI Women’s WorldTour served as as an emphatic response to the naysayers in Valkenburg.

The fourth edition of the Amstel Gold Race was the first edition following a 14-year hiatus and, joins the new Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the existing Flèche Wallonne to provide the women’s peloton with its first proper Ardennes Week. The biggest names eagerly embraced the opportunity to race over Holland’s most iconic hills and by the time the live broadcast began, with 20 kilometres left to race, the bunch had been decimated.

Van der Breggen’s race winning-move was made when she marked an attack by Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott) on the third time up the Bemelerberg. With UCI Women’s WorldTour leader Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) following, the pair bridged across to Deignan, Kasia Niewiadoma (WM3 Cycling) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5). With eight kilometres left, including the fourth and final time up the Cauberg, the six riders had a 13-second advantage over approximately 16 chasers.

Van der Breggen waited less than a kilometre to launch her attack. She immediately pocketed 10 seconds over her five former break-mates, and hit the base of the Cauberg with a 30-second lead. Although Deignan and Niewiadoma proved two seconds quicker up the final climb, Van der Breggen’s gap was big enough to fend off any challenges on the flat, fast run-in to the finish. Relieved and elated, she reached the finish line alone.

“This was the big goal of the spring – not only this race but the upcoming two races,” said Van der Breggen. “I’m happy to have this shape finally now. You can gamble on this week, but it’s always hard to have the right shape at the right time.

“It’s difficult to have this shape for three months,” she added. “It’s not possible. If you’re good at the beginning of the season, it’s difficult to be as good this week, and this is an important week because if you’re good, you have three big races."

How it unfolded

Van der Breggen and Deignan shared a leadership role on Easter Sunday. Both had contended with illness during the opening weeks of the season but arrived on the start line in Maastricht feeling fit and motivated ahead of the 121-kilometre day.

“We planned for an aggressive race,” said Deignan. “With both me and Anna healthy again, we felt it was possible to shoulder the responsibility of four of the team tasked with putting the rest of the peloton in the hurt box.”

Chantal Blaak, Karol-Ann Canuel, Amy Pieters and Megan Guarnier, back in the bunch for the first time since her crash at Omloop Hageland in February, attacked the early climbs and put the race in the gutter in the wind over the top. Their work translated into early attrition and mid-race splits. Before the first 66-kilometre opening lap had been completed, the peloton was reduced to 35 riders. All six Boels-Dolmans riders had made the selection.

The second ascent of the Cauberg further split the group. Blaak, Deignan and Van der Breggen were part of an eight-rider breakaway that led across the second passage of the finish line. When they were caught, Pieters countered. She gained a small gap before she was joined first by Audrey Cordon (Wiggle-High5) and then Roxanne Knetemann (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) and Tatiana Riabchenko (Lensworld-Kuota).

When the quartet was swept up on the lowers slopes of the Cauberg, Deignan lifted the pace further, escaping with Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5) and Kasia Niewiadoma (WM3 Energie).

“I was contributing as much as Elisa and Kaisa,” said Deignan. “I was confident if I went to the line with them that I could win, but the commitment from all three of us was not enough to really stay away.”

With the leaders not fully committed to the escape and a strong chase led largely by Ellen van Dijk (Team Sunweb), the gap held steady between 10-20 seconds for the first half of the final lap.

Van Vleuten attacked the third time up the Bemelerberg, the 16th of the 17 climbs. Van der Breggen marked the move, as did Rivera. The trio bridged across to Deignan, Longo Borghini and Niewiadoma. With eight kilometres left, including the fourth and final time up the Cauberg, the six riders had a 13-second advantage over approximately 16 chasers.

“That was the plan – for me to attack on the Cauberg two laps out and for Anna to counter,” Deignan explained. “It was exactly to plan as Anna bridged over to the break I had formed. It was difficult to communicate but I knew if Anna had good legs she would go. When she made her move I had a smile on my face because I knew she would win.”

Van der Breggen made that race-winning move with a bit more than seven kilometres left to race. Her jump afforded her an immediate ten-second gap, and she hit the base of the Cauberg with a 30-second lead and plenty of time on the finishing straight to celebrate her first victory for her new team. 

Rivera had been distanced up the Cauberg but clawed her way back to the chasers as they cat and moused their way to the finish line. Deignan slowed and pulled to the left side of the road while Niewiadoma, Van Vleuten and Longo Borghini stayed to the right. The Briton then swung across the road and onto the front of the chase group before opening her sprint in the final 150 metres.

“There was a cross-wind from the left, so I rode tight on the right-hand barrier, knowing whoever started the sprint would have to do so into the wind,” said Deignan. “I kept one eye on everyone in my wheel and jumped when I saw that they had started.”

Deignan pointed to the Boels Rental and Dolmans Group jersey on her rainbow-banded orange jersey as she crossed the line ahead of Niewiadoma and Van Vleuten, who were afforded a rare tie for third place.

“As a team, we rode very well,” Deignan said. “We all feel confident and excited ahead of the rest of the week. It’s exciting that a team with full health can race aggressively and play the beautiful tactic game again. That’s where we excel.”

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam3:15:57 
2Elizabeth Deignan (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam0:00:55 
3Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) WM3 Pro Cycling  
3Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Orica Scott Women  
5Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Wiggle High5  
6Coryn Rivera (USA) Team Sunweb Women0:01:02 
7Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam0:01:51 
8Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Fra) Canyon SRAM Racing  
9Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team  
10Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) Team Sunweb Women  
11Chantal Blaak (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam  
12Audrey Cordon Ragot (Fra) Wiggle High5  
13Tetiana Riabchenko (Ukr) Lensworld-Kuota  
14Janneke Ensing (Ned) Alé Cipollini  
15Shara Gillow (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope  
16Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam  
17Flavia Oliveira (Bra) Lares-Waowdeals  
18Roxane Knetemann (Ned) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope  
19Lisa Klein (Ger) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team0:03:36 
20Eva Buurman (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil Cycling Team  
21Arianna Fidanza (Ita) Astana Women's Team  
22Malgorzata Jasinska (Pol) Cylance Pro Cycling  
23Alison Jackson (Can) BePink Cogeas  
24Anna Zita Maria Stricker (Ita) BTC City Ljubljana  
25Sara Penton (Swe) Team Veloconcept Women  
26Sofie De Vuyst (Bel) Lares-Waowdeals  
27Eugenia Bujak (Pol) BTC City Ljubljana  
28Ganna Solovei (Ukr) Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil Cycling Team  
29Thalita De Jong (Ned) Lares-Waowdeals  
30Agnieszka Skalniak (Pol) Astana Women's Team  
31Kelly Van Den Steen (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Guill D'or  
32Lauren Kitchen (Aus) WM3 Pro Cycling  
33Polona Batagelj (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana  
34Rossella Ratto (Ita) Cylance Pro Cycling  
35Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Team Sunweb Women  
36Hanna Nilsson (Swe) BTC City Ljubljana  
37Soraya Paladin (Ita) Alé Cipollini  
38Katrine Aalerud (Nor) Hitec Products  
39Vita Heine (Nor) Hitec Products  
40Anouska Koster (Ned) WM3 Pro Cycling  
41Emilia Fahlin (Swe) Wiggle High5  
42Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam  
43Nina Buysman (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil Cycling Team  
44Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica Scott Women  
45Anna Potokina (Rus) Servetto Giusta  
46Pauliena Rooijakkers (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil Cycling Team  
47Clara Koppenburg (Ger) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team0:03:45 
48Leah Kirchmann (Can) Team Sunweb Women0:03:55 
49Esther Van Veen (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil Cycling Team  
50Eri Yonamine (Jpn) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope  
51Sarah Roy (Aus) Orica Scott Women0:04:06 
52Victorie Guilman (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope0:04:09 
53Marianne Vos (Ned) WM3 Pro Cycling0:04:38 
54Aude Biannic (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope  
55Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Lensworld-Kuota  
56Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Alé Cipollini0:05:39 
57Elena Cecchini (Ita) Canyon SRAM Racing  
58Trixi Worrack (Ger) Canyon SRAM Racing  
59Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Canyon SRAM Racing  
60Sabrina Stultiens (Ned) Team Sunweb Women0:07:44 
61Rozanne Slik (Ned) Team Sunweb Women  
62Moniek Tenniglo (Ned) WM3 Pro Cycling  
63Jeanne Korevaar (Ned) WM3 Pro Cycling0:08:02 
64Claudia Lichtenberg (Ger) Wiggle High50:10:22 
65Susanne Andersen (Nor) Hitec Products0:11:47 
66Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Canyon SRAM Racing  
67Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team  
68Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) Lensworld-Kuota  
69Amelie Rivat (Fra) Lares-Waowdeals  
70Jelena Eric (Srb) BTC City Ljubljana  
71Ilaria Sanguineti (Ita) BePink Cogeas  
72Allie Dragoo (USA) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team  
73Jessy Druyts (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Guill D'or  
DNFMayuko Hagiwara (Jpn) Wiggle High5  
DNFAnnette Edmondson (Aus) Wiggle High5  
DNFAlexis Ryan (USA) Canyon SRAM Racing  
DNFGracie Elvin (Aus) Orica Scott Women  
DNFJenelle Crooks (Aus) Orica Scott Women  
DNFKatrin Garfoot (Aus) Orica Scott Women  
DNFMarie Vilmann (Den) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team  
DNFRomy Kasper (Ger) Alé Cipollini  
DNFDaiva Tuslaite (Ltu) Alé Cipollini  
DNFCarlee Taylor (Aus) Alé Cipollini  
DNFSheyla Gutierrez Ruiz (Spa) Cylance Pro Cycling  
DNFMarta Tagliaferro (Ita) Cylance Pro Cycling  
DNFWubbigje Regina Knol (Ned) Cylance Pro Cycling  
DNFPernille Mathiesen (Den) Team Veloconcept Women  
DNFSara Mustonen Lichan (Swe) Team Veloconcept Women  
DNFAmber Leone Neben (USA) Team Veloconcept Women  
DNFChristina Siggaard (Den) Team Veloconcept Women  
DNFDoris Schweizer (Swi) Team Veloconcept Women  
DNFTereza Medvedova (Svk) BePink Cogeas  
DNFKatia Ragusa (Ita) BePink Cogeas  
DNFMaria Vittoria Sperotto (Ita) BePink Cogeas  
DNFKseniya Tuhai (Blr) BePink Cogeas  
DNFMiriam Bjørnsrud (Nor) Hitec Products  
DNFIngvild Gåskjenn (Nor) Hitec Products  
DNFEmilie Moberg (Nor) Hitec Products  
DNFDaniela Reis (Por) Lares-Waowdeals  
DNFBryony Van Velzen (Ned) Lares-Waowdeals  
DNFKim De Baat (Bel) Lensworld-Kuota  
DNFMaaike Polspoel (Bel) Lensworld-Kuota  
DNFWinanda Spoor (Ned) Lensworld-Kuota  
DNFGreta Richioud (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope  
DNFUrša Pintar (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana  
DNFIsabelle Beckers (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies  
DNFJessie Daams (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies  
DNFChantal Hoffmann (Lux) Lotto Soudal Ladies  
DNFAnna Kiesenhofer (Aut) Lotto Soudal Ladies  
DNFPuck Moonen (Ned) Lotto Soudal Ladies  
DNFSofia Beggin (Ita) Astana Women's Team  
DNFSofia Bertizzolo (Ita) Astana Women's Team  
DNFOlena Pavlukhina (Aze) Astana Women's Team  
DNFLara Vieceli (Ita) Astana Women's Team  
DNFKseniia Dobrynina (Rus) Servetto Giusta  
DNFTing Ying Huang (Tpe) Servetto Giusta  
DNFLaura Camila Lozano Ramirez (Col) Servetto Giusta  
DNFAlice Gasparini (Ita) Servetto Giusta  
DNFEsra Tromp (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil Cycling Team  
DNFNathalie Bex (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Guill D'or  
DNFValerie Demey (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Guill D'or  
DNFDemmy Druyts (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Guill D'or  
DNFFien Delbaere (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Guill D'or  


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