World champion Amalie Dideriksen (Boels Dolmans) won a four-up sprint in the Dutch town of Hoogeveen on Saturday to stand on the top step of the Ronde van Drenthe podium. The Dane was part of a late race escape that broke away from an elite selection that took shape following the third and final ascent of the VAMberg.
"It was hard. We were always on 10-15 seconds the entire time," said Dideriksen. "We didn't know if it would come back. I tried to keep the gap but save some energy for the sprint."
Dideriksen was up against Italian road champion Elena Cecchini (Canyon-SRAM), Women's WorldTour leader and Strade Bianche winner Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5) and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad winner Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb). Cecchini sparked the breakaway with an attack around 15 kilometres from the finish. The group cooperated well to fend off a chase group that had only seven riders, including two of Dideriksen's teammates.
Longo Borghini, easily the weakest sprinter amongst the four, jumped inside the final kilometre. The trio pounced and handily shut the move down. Brand was first around the final corner and first to open her sprint.
"I thought I had lost it in the corner," admitted Dideriksen. "There were two in front of me, and I didn't want that, but I still managed to get it in the sprint."
With more than a bike length ahead of Cecchini, Dideriksen celebrated her first UCI Women's WorldTour win crossing the line. Cecchini settled for second place ahead of Brand.
National championships aside, the victory is only Dideriksen's fourth professional win. The double junior world champion won the second stage of the Lotto Belgium Tour in her first year as an elite while riding for the Danish National Team. In 2016 she won the opening stage of the Boels Rental Ladies Tour in August before surprising with the Worlds win in October.
"We had a lot of cards to play, and I'm happy with how it played out," said Dideriksen. "The team was great, and it's always an amazing feeling when they put their trust in me."
That trust was demonstrated as early as 30 kilometres from the finish when Dideriksen's former teammate, Ellen van Dijk (Team Sunweb), slipped away solo and built up an advantage of 30 seconds. Ronde van Drenthe defending champion Chantal Blaak, Olympic road champion Anna van der Breggen, Amy Pieters and Jip van den Bos fully committed to the chase as Dideriksen sat fifth wheel, conserving for the potential sprint.
"It's a great feeling to win in the rainbow jersey," said Dideriksen. "I really hoped to take a win this season. To do it today is amazing."
How it unfolded
Twenty teams fielding six riders apiece lined up for the start of Ronde van Drenthe under sunny skies. The Dutch one-day classic is often partially decided by echelons, and a lack of wind on Saturday left several riders and teams lamenting a lost opportunity for gutter action. The opening hour of the 153 kilometre race was calm and controlled as the peloton navigated the first ascent of the VAMberg and the first three cobble sectors.
German road champion Mieke Kroeger (Canyon-SRAM) attacked before the fourth of seven cobble sectors and managed a maximum advantage of 15-seconds. She was caught on the run-in to sector six.
The peloton emerged from sector six, the longest of the lot, in a single-file line with gaps forming between groups. A front selection of a dozen riders was briefly made that included Cecchini, Longo Borghini, Pieters and Chloe Hosking (Alé Cipollini). Attrition continued on the seventh and final cobbled sector. Around 60 riders survived the cobbles in the main bunch.
Canyon-SRAM and Team Sunweb led into the second ascent of the VAMberg but Pieters took over before the top, leading Cecchini and Van Dijk across the GPM point. The trio along with Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb), Jolien d'Hoore (Wiggle High5) and Dideriksen got a small gap on the descent, but the move did not have staying power.
Non-stop attacks came from the peloton without amounting to any lasting advantage. Jessica Allen (Orica-Scott) gained a small gap and reached the VAMberg for the final ascent with a 10-second advantage – an advantage Van Dijk immediately eliminated as she attacked up and over the climb.
Van Dijk maintained her gap on the descent and stretched it out to 30 seconds several kilometres later. Boels-Dolmans had the numerical advantage in the chase group – five of 15 riders – and put the entire team on the front.
"Ellen is a really strong rider," said Dideriksen. "That was a dangerous move, and my teammates spent a lot of energy to get her back. Sitting on like that, it's a lot of responsibility. I had pressure in the end not only to get a result for myself but for my teammates, who worked so hard for me."
The Boels-Dolmans train overtook Van Dijk with 22 kilometres remaining, and Blaak immediately countered the catch. Brand chased down Blaak. Then Van den Bos countered. The tactical games had begun.
"We had to cover so many attacks and counter-attacks," said Dideriksen. "I ended up being in the move that stayed away.
"Everybody in the group was turning," Dideriksen added. "We didn't know if we'd stay away until the end. It was 10-15-10 seconds. If we started playing games and waiting to work until the sprint, we would have been caught. It was only in the last kilometre that we started to look around at each other."
Dideriksen backed herself for the sprint.
"There were some fast riders in there," she said. "I believed Cecchini would be the fastest of them. I thought I could out-sprint them all, but you never know after a race of 153 kilometres. I've never raced that long before."
She could out-sprint them. And she did.
"It means a lot," said Dideriksen. "It's a really big win for me. I'm grateful to have the opportunity from the team and to pay back my teammates who worked so hard for me."
Longo Borghini, who finished in fourth place from the group of four, remains in the purple UCI Women's WorldTour leader's jersey following the opening two rounds of the 20 round series. Dideriksen jumped to the top of the UCI Women's WorldTour youth classification, earning the blue jersey for her efforts.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Amalie Dideriksen (Den) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team||3:51:17|
|2||Elena Cecchini (Ita) CANYON-SRAM Racing|
|3||Lucinda Brand (Ned) Team Sunweb Women|
|4||Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Wiggle High5||0:00:02|
|5||Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Orica Scott||0:00:07|
|6||Jolien D`Hoore (Bel) Wiggle High5||0:00:09|
|7||Marianne Vos (Ned) WM3 Pro Cycling|
|8||Alice Barnes (GBr) DROPS|
|9||Chantal Blaak (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team|
|10||Chloe Hosking (Aus) Ale Cipollini|
|11||Jip Van Den Bos (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team||0:00:12|
|12||Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) Team Sunweb Women||0:02:04|
|13||Hannah Barnes (GBr) CANYON-SRAM Racing||0:02:12|
|14||Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team|
|15||Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team|
|16||Lotta Lepistö (Fin) Cervelo - Bigla Pro Cycling team||0:05:57|
|17||Lisa Klein (Ger) Cervelo - Bigla Pro Cycling team|
|18||Nina Kessler (Ned) Hitec Products|
|19||Roxane Fournier (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|20||Kirsten Wild (Ned) Cylance Pro Cycling|
|21||Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica Scott|
|22||Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Team Sunweb Women|
|23||Jeanne Korevaar (Ned) WM3 Pro Cycling|
|24||Sarah Roy (Aus) Orica Scott|
|25||Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies|
|26||Eugenia Bujak (Pol) BTC City Ljubljana|
|27||Lauren Kitchen (Aus) WM3 Pro Cycling|
|28||Janneke Ensing (Ned) Ale Cipollini|
|29||Coryn Rivera (USA) Team Sunweb Women|
|30||Emilie Moberg (Nor) Hitec Products||0:06:01|
|31||Romy Kasper (Ger) Ale Cipollini|
|32||Jessica Allen (Aus) Orica Scott|
|33||Julia Soek (Ned) Team Sunweb Women|
|34||Roxane Knetemann (Ned) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope||0:06:13|
|35||Shara Gillow (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope||0:07:57|
|36||Lisa Brennauer (Ger) CANYON-SRAM Racing|
|37||Mieke Kröger (Ger) CANYON-SRAM Racing|
|DNF||Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team|
|DNF||Soraya Paladin (Ita) Ale Cipollini|
|DNF||Anna Trevisi (Ita) Ale Cipollini|
|DNF||Daiva Tuslaite (Ltu) Ale Cipollini|
|DNF||Jelena Eric (Srb) BTC City Ljubljana|
|DNF||Corinna Lechner (Ger) BTC City Ljubljana|
|DNF||Urša Pintar (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana|
|DNF||Mia Radotic (Cro) BTC City Ljubljana|
|DNF||Anna Zita Maria Stricker (Ita) BTC City Ljubljana|
|DNF||Barbara Guarischi (Ita) CANYON-SRAM Racing|
|DNF||Trixi Worrack (Ger) CANYON-SRAM Racing|
|DNF||Allie Dragoo (USA) Cervelo - Bigla Pro Cycling team|
|DNF||Nicole Hanselmann (Swi) Cervelo - Bigla Pro Cycling team|
|DNF||Christina Perchtold (Aut) Cervelo - Bigla Pro Cycling team|
|DNF||Stephanie Pohl (Ger) Cervelo - Bigla Pro Cycling team|
|DNF||Whitney Allison (USA) Colavita/Bianchi|
|DNF||Astrid Gassner (Aut) Colavita/Bianchi|
|DNF||Kendelle Hodges (Aus) Colavita/Bianchi|
|DNF||Gillian Ellsay (Can) Colavita/Bianchi|
|DNF||Jessica Mundy (Aus) Colavita/Bianchi|
|DNF||Amber Pierce (USA) Colavita/Bianchi|
|DNF||Rachele Barbieri (Ita) Cylance Pro Cycling|
|DNF||Sheyla Gutierrez Ruiz (Spa) Cylance Pro Cycling|
|DNF||Willeke Knol (Ned) Cylance Pro Cycling|
|DNF||Joelle Numainville (Can) Cylance Pro Cycling|
|DNF||Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) Cylance Pro Cycling|
|DNF||Abby-Mae Parkinson (GBr) DROPS|
|DNF||Lucy Shaw (GBr) DROPS|
|DNF||Annabel Simpson (GBr) DROPS|
|DNF||Rebecca Durrell (GBr) DROPS|
|DNF||Susanna Zorzi (Ita) DROPS|
|DNF||Eri Yonamine (Jpn) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|DNF||Coralie Demay (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|DNF||Eugénie Duval (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|DNF||Simona Frapporti (Ita) Hitec Products|
|DNF||Ilona Hoeksma (Ned) Hitec Products|
|DNF||Tone Lima Hatteland (Nor) Hitec Products|
|DNF||Thea Thorsen (Nor) Hitec Products|
|DNF||Tara Gins (Bel) Lares-Waowdeals Women CT|
|DNF||Kelly Markus (Ned) Lares-Waowdeals Women CT|
|DNF||Monique Van De Ree (Ned) Lares-Waowdeals Women CT|
|DNF||Saartje Vandenbroucke (Bel) Lares-Waowdeals Women CT|
|DNF||Bryony Van Velzen (Ned) Lares-Waowdeals Women CT|
|DNF||Kim De Baat (Bel) Lensworld-Kuota|
|DNF||Annalisa Cucinotta (Ita) Lensworld-Kuota|
|DNF||Maaike Polspoel (Bel) Lensworld-Kuota|
|DNF||Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Lensworld-Kuota|
|DNF||Winanda Spoor (Ned) Lensworld-Kuota|
|DNF||Elise Delzenne (Fra) Lotto Soudal Ladies|
|DNF||Annelies Dom (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies|
|DNF||Chantal Hoffmann (Lux) Lotto Soudal Ladies|
|DNF||Trine Schmidt (Den) Lotto Soudal Ladies|
|DNF||Kaat Van Der Muelen (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies|
|DNF||Georgia Williams (NZl) Orica Scott|
|DNF||Katrin Garfoot (Aus) Orica Scott|
|DNF||Demi De Jong (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil CT|
|DNF||Anna Knauer (Ger) Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil CT|
|DNF||Eva Buurman (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil CT|
|DNF||Chanella Stougje (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil CT|
|DNF||Esra Tromp (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil CT|
|DNF||Natalie Van Gogh (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil CT|
|DNF||Leah Kirchmann (Can) Team Sunweb Women|
|DNF||Anouska Koster (Ned) WM3 Pro Cycling|
|DNF||Anna Plichta (Pol) WM3 Pro Cycling|
|DNF||Moniek Tenniglo (Ned) WM3 Pro Cycling|
|DNF||Jennifer Tetrick (USA) Team Tibco Silicon Valley Bank|
|DNF||Ingrid Drexel Clouthier (Mex) Team Tibco Silicon Valley Bank|
|DNF||Heather Fischer (USA) Team Tibco Silicon Valley Bank|
|DNF||Kathrin Hammes (Ger) Team Tibco Silicon Valley Bank|
|DNF||Lauren Stephens (USA) Team Tibco Silicon Valley Bank|
|DNF||Brianna Walle (USA) Team Tibco Silicon Valley Bank|
|DNF||Pernille Mathiesen (Den) Team Veloconcept Women|
|DNF||Sara Mustonen Lichan (Swe) Team Veloconcept Women|
|DNF||Camilla Pedersen (Den) Team Veloconcept Women|
|DNF||Sara Penton (Swe) Team Veloconcept Women|
|DNF||Christina Siggaard (Den) Team Veloconcept Women|
|DNF||Carmen Small (USA) Team Veloconcept Women|
|DNF||Annette Edmondson (Aus) Wiggle High5|
|DNF||Grace Garner (GBr) Wiggle High5|
|DNF||Lucy Garner (GBr) Wiggle High5|
|DNF||Julie Leth (Den) Wiggle High5|