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Blaak wins Vargarda World Cup

Sarah Connolly

Pieters and Knetemann round out podium

Chantal Blaak (Specialized lululemon) leads Emma Johansson (Orica)

Chantal Blaak (Specialized lululemon) leads Emma Johansson (Orica)

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Chantal Blaak (Specialized-lululemon) won the Open de Suède Vargarda World Cup on Sunday. The Dutchwoman beat her two compatriots, and late-race breakaway companions, Amy Pieters (Giant-Shimano) and Roxane Knetemann (Rabo-Liv Woman Cycling Team).

Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) won the sprint for fourth, and by finishing in eighth place, ahead of Orica's Emma Johansson, Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) ticked off another major achievement, securing the overall series win with one race to go. The World Cup finishes on Saturday, with one last chance for glory at the GP de Plouay.

How it unfolded

The Vårgårda road race World Cup is one of the hardest to predict of the series. It was 132 kilometres, 12 laps of the 11km course that was also part of Friday’s Team Time Trial World Cup, including a climb and some technical corners. In the past, it’s been won by everything from bunch sprints to solo attacks. Specialized-lululemon won the TTT with a new course record in the pouring rain, and it became clear that the team entered the road race still riding on that high.

The first attacks of the race, along with the rain, came almost instantly, with the Swedish national team taking advantage of the live broadcasts to take it in turns to try to escape, until 37-year-old Malin Rydlund managed it, joined by Bigla’s Vera Koedooder at the end of the first lap, and the pair worked together to get a gap up over three minutes.

Usually such an early move could be ignored, but Koedooder is the type of opportunist who is capable of staying out all day, and there were some serious chase attempts, with Blaak and Maaike Polspoel (Liv-Shimano) especially active – and surprisingly ORICA-AIS missing out on the moves.

Missing the chases proved problematic for the Australian team, when a group of eight riders finally caught Rydlund and Koedooder with four and a half laps to go. With all the other major teams now represented at the front, including top riders Carmen Small (Specialized) and Lucinda Brand (Rabo-Liv) it was down to ORICA to chase, taking nearly two laps to make the catch, and then pain really set in, as rider after rider exploded off the front trying to force another break, and their leader Johansson was left isolated.

The final 25km were a non-stop flurry of attacks, with Rabo pushing especially hard – as soon as one rider was caught, another one would try. Specialized-lululemon and Boels-Dolmans alternated between chasing everything down and trying themselves, Blaak escaping on the final climb, caught at the top by a chase group of around 20.

The run-in back to Vårgårda was full of even more attacks and catches until at 3km to go, Knetemann made one last attempt. This time only two riders could match her – Pieters, who was third here last year, and Blaak once again. Blaak tried to drop the other two in the final kilometres, but despite the hectic chase behind them, it came down to a sprint between those three. Pieters started her sprint first, but Blaak passed her, making it a perfect weekend for the team, adding her first solo World Cup victory to her Team Time Trial gold.


# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Chantal Blaak (Ned) Specialized - lululemon 3:26:22  
2 Amy Pieters (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano    
3 Roxane Knetemann (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team    
4 Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team 0:00:05  
5 Kirsten Wild (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano    
6 Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Specialized - lululemon    
7 Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team    
8 Elisabeth Armitstead (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team    
9 Lucinda Brand (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team    
10 Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica - AIS    
11 Elena Cecchini (Ita) Estado de Mexico Faren    
12 Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team    
13 Susanna Zorzi (Ita) Astana BePink Womens Team    
14 Claudia Lichternberg-Häusler (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano    
15 Trixi Worrack (Ger) Specialized - lululemon    
16 Rossella Ratto (Ita) Estado de Mexico Faren 0:00:10  
17 Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Specialized - lululemon    
18 Evelyn Stevens (USA) Specialized - lululemon 0:00:29  
19 Ellen Van Dijn (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team 0:00:46  
20 Jermaine Post (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team    
21 Charlotte Becker (Ger) Wiggle Honda    
22 Maaike Polspoel (Bel) Team Giant-Shimano    
23 Desiree Ehrler (Swi) Bigla Cycling Team    
24 Sara Mustonen (Swe) Team Giant-Shimano    
25 Julie Leth (Den) Hitec Products 0:00:48  
26 Linda Melanie Villumsen (NZl) Wiggle Honda    
27 Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda    
28 Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team 0:02:18  
29 Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano 0:02:21  
30 Joanne Kiesanowski (NZl) TIBCO / To The Top    
31 Vera Koedooder (Ned) Bigla Cycling Team    
32 Eugenia Bujak (Pol) BTC City Ljubljana    
33 Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Estado de Mexico Faren    
34 Ceclie Gotaas Johnsen (Nor) Hitec Products    
35 Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Team Rytger    
36 Romy Kasper (Ger) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team    
37 Shara Gillow (Aus) Orica - AIS    
38 Carmen Small McNellis (USA) Specialized - lululemon    
39 Elena Kuchinskaya (Rus) RusVelo    
40 Anastasiya Chulkova (Rus) RusVelo    
41 Emilie Moberg (Nor) Hitec Products 0:02:36  
42 Alexandra Nessmar (Swe) Firefighters Upsala CK    
43 Emilia Fahlin (Swe) Wiggle Honda    
44 Malin Rydlund (Swe)Team Rytger 0:10:56  
45 Lauren Stephens (USA) TIBCO / To The Top    
46 Jasmin Glaesser (Can) TIBCO / To The Top    
47 Oxana Kozonchuk (Rus) RusVelo    
48 Arianna Fidanza (Ita) Estado de Mexico Faren    
49 Monique van de Ree (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team    
50 Kelly Markus (Ned) Team Rytger    
51 Taryn Heather (Aus) Bigla Cycling Team    
52 Yulia Blindyuk (Rus) RusVelo    
53 Sara Headley Clafferty (USA) TIBCO - To The Top    
54 Ursa Pintar (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana    
55 Natalie van Gogh (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team    
56 Polona Batagelj (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana    
57 Liisa Ehrberg (Est) Estonia    
58 Mia Radotic (Cro) BTC City Ljubljana    
59 Henriette Woering (Ned) Team Rytger    
60 Ida Erngren (Swe) Sweden    
61 Lotta Lepistö (Fin) Bigla Cycling Team    
62 Martina Ritter (Aut) BTC City Ljubljana    
63 Kseniya Dobrynina (Rus) AstanaBepink    
64 Elke Gebhardt (Ger) Bigla Cycling Team    
65 Jacqueline Hahn (Aut) Bigla Cycling Team    
66 Miriam Bjørnsrud (Nor) Hitec Products    
67 Sara Olsson (Swe) Hitec Products    
68 Aizhan Zhaparova (Rus) RusVelo    
69 Natalia Boyarskaya (Rus) Servetto Footon    
70 Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica - AIS    
71 Rozanne Slik (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team 0:11:38  
72 Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) Astana BePink Womens Team 0:16:30  
73 Sara Penton (Swe) Sweden 0:16:33