Chantal van den Broek-Blaak wins Drentse Acht van Westerveld

Chantal Van Den Broek Blaak of Team SD Worx celebrates winning 2021 Drentse Acht van Westerveld
Chantal Van Den Broek Blaak of Team SD Worx celebrates winning 2021 Drentse Acht van Westerveld (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (SD Worx) emerged victorious at Drentse Acht van Westerveld after a chaotic and attritional afternoon of racing in northern Netherlands.

The former world champion, celebrating her 32nd birthday, attacked from a select group that had formed only 15km into the race, and soloed to victory over the final 10km. 

Charlotte Kool (NXTG Racing) won the sprint for second place from the 14-rider group, with Eleonora Gasparrini (Valcar-Travel&Service) clinching the final spot on the podium. 

The 138km route, based in Dwingeloo, consisted of three laps of a 39km loop and three laps of a 7km finishing circuit. It was nearly pan-flat, but was punctuated by cobblestone sectors, providing a precursor for Saturday’s Ronde van Drenthe, which brings the WorldTour calendar to a close. 

The main factor, however, was the weather, with strong winds combining with heavy spells of rain to make for a punishing day in the saddle. 

The race was in pieces almost immediately. After just 15km, the small group containing Van den Broek-Blaak went clear, and no one else would see the front of the race again all day. In fact, only 30 riders out of 100 would finish the race. 

In the front group, Van den Broek-Blaak had teammates in Lonneke Uneken and Christine Majerus, while defending champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot was there with her Trek-Segafredo teammate Chloe Hosking. As well as Kool and Gasparrini, the other members of the group were the NXTG duo of Ilse Pluimers, Maud Rijnbeek (NXTG), as well as Paulien Koster (GRC Jan van Arckel), Sofie van Rooijen (Parkhotel Valkenburg), Daniek Hengeveld (GT Krush Tunap), Marielle Meijering (Team Drenthe), and Femke de Vries (Loving Potatoes). 

There were only 17 riders in what emerged as the chase group, which notably contained Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo), Elena Cecchini (SD Worx), and Janneke Ensing (BikeExchange), all with teammates up the road. 

They held the gap below a minute to begin with but soon slipped, and after around 50km they were already trailing by nearer two minutes. Meanwhile, the rest of the peloton was already more than three minutes down. Things continued in the same fashion on the second lap and, by the end of it, pretty much all the riders in the dropped bunch took the opportunity to climb off and into their team buses, leaving two groups and just 30 riders in the race. 

Hosking crashed on the cobbles on the last of the big loops, but chased back on, although the group did still reduce to 15 when De Vries was dropped. They finished the final big loop and set off for the first of three local loops with 21km remaining and a lead of five minutes. 

There was more chaos to come, as the size of the gap meant the lead group would catch and effectively lap the chasers on the circuit, leading the organisers to pull the second group to a halt to allow the leaders to pass. By that point, it was certain that the winner would be coming from the front group, and, with SD Worx enjoying the numerical advantage, Van den Broek-Blaak seized the opportunity. 

She was quickly and swiftly away, opening up a sizeable lead as she took the bell and taking it all the way through the final lap. She reached the finish line almost half a minute up and punched the air with one hand to celebrate her second success at the race, having previously triumphed in 2014.

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Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (Ned) Team SD Worx 3:21:05
2Charlotte Kool (Ned) NXTG Racing 0:00:27
3Eleonora Camilla Gasparrini (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
4Chloe Hosking (Aus) Trek-Segafredo
5Alison Jackson (Can) Liv Racing
6Lonneke Uneken (Ned) Team SD Worx
7Teniel Campbell (TTo) Team BikeExchange
8Mareille Meijering (Ned) Team Drenthe
9Christine Majerus (Lux) Team SD Worx
10Daniek Hengeveld (Ned) GT Krush Tunap Pro Cycling
11Paulien Koster (Ned) GRC Jan van Arckel
12Ilse Pluimers (Ned) NXTG Racing
13Maud Rijnbeek (Ned) NXTG Racing
14Sofie van Rooijen (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
15Audrey Cordon Ragot (Fra) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:34
16Claire Faber (Lux) Andy Schleck-CP NVST-Immo Losch 0:09:04
17Lieke Nooijen (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
18Nina Kessler (Ned) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
19Laura Molenaar (Ned) WV Schinjndel
20Sylvie Swinkels (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
21Lisa van Helvoirt (Ned) WV Schinjndel
22Cathalijne Hoolwerf (Ned) NXTG Racing
23Ilse Grit (Ned) Wattersley Race & Development CT
24Anneke Dijkstra (Ned) Team Drenthe
25Marit Raaijmakers (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg 0:09:09
26Roxane Fournier (Fra) Team SD Worx
27Moniek Tenniglo (Ned) Team BikeExchange
28Evy Kuijpers (Ned) Liv Racing
29Femke De Vries (Ned) Loving Potatoes Cycling Team 0:09:15
DNFShirin van Anrooij (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
DNFEllen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
DNFElena Cecchini (Ita) Team SD Worx
DNFSofia Bertizzolo (Ita) Liv Racing
DNFAyesha Mcgowan (USA) Liv Racing
DNFJessica Allen (Aus) Team BikeExchange
DNFJanneke Ensing (Ned) Team BikeExchange
DNFSarah Roy (Aus) Team BikeExchange
DNFSilvia Magri (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
DNFElizabeth Stannard (Aus) Valcar-Travel & Service
DNFMargaux Vigie (Fra) Valcar-Travel & Service
DNFIlaria Sanguineti (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
DNFEva Buurman (Ned) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
DNFVeronica Ewers (USA) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
DNFKristen Faulkner (USA) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
DNFNicole Frain (Aus) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
DNFNina Buijsman (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
DNFNina Berton (Lux) Andy Schleck-CP NVST-Immo Losch
DNFStella Nightingale (NZl) Andy Schleck-CP NVST-Immo Losch
DNFBronwyn Macgregor (NZl) LVIV Cycling Team
DNFSandra Weiss (Swi) Andy Schleck-CP NVST-Immo Losch
DNFSenne Knaven (Ned) NXTG Racing
DNFMarissa Baks (Ned) GT Krush Tunap Pro Cycling
DNFMelanie Klement (Ned) GT Krush Tunap Pro Cycling
DNFQuinty Ton (Ned) GT Krush Tunap Pro Cycling
DNFNienke Wasmus (Ned) GT Krush Tunap Pro Cycling
DNFSandra Alonso Dominguez (Spa) Bizkaia-Durango
DNFDaniela Campos (Por) Bizkaia-Durango
DNFMarina Garau Roca (Spa) Bizkaia-Durango
DNFAriana Gilabert Vilaplana (Spa) Bizkaia-Durango
DNFAileen Schweikart (Ger) Bizkaia-Durango
DNFLoes Adegeest (Ned)
DNFEva Jonkers (Ned)
DNFLieke van de Draaij (Ned)
DNFBente van Teeseling (Ned)
DNFSarah Langbroek (Ned)
DNFMariska Jetten (Ned)
DNFKarlijn Koops (Ned)
DNFElisa Serné (Ned)
DNFYonna van Dam (Ned)
DNFElisa Jong (Ned)
DNFMarthe Roose (Ned)
DNFLisa Bouwers (Ned)
DNFHaike Verbree (Ned)
DNFViolinde den Breeijen (Ned)
DNFJennifer van der Voort (Ned)
DNFLieke Zeelst (Ned)
DNFBianca Lust (Ned)
DNFMaartje De Boer (Ned)
DNFTessa Neefjes (Ned)
DNFSuzanne Mulder (Ned)
DNFTessa Sandberg (Ned)
DNFRose Kloese (Ned)
DNFManon De Boer (Ned)
DNFQuinty Schoens (Ned)
DNFBente van den Nouweland (Ned)
DNFLente Boskamp (Ned)
DNFMarit Cent (Ned)
DNFDieke Hendriks (Ned)
DNFAnne Van Rooijen (Ned)
DNFRixt Hoogland (Ned)
DNFWendy Oosterwoud (Ned)
DNFYvet Schoonewille (Ned)
DNFFleur Smith (Ned)
DNFDemi Beerninkv (Ned)
DNFLaura van Regenmortel (Ned)
DNFLieke van Weereld (Ned)
DNFMarit Wasmus (Ned)
DNFPetra Welmers (Ned)
DNSEva Bijwaard (Ned)

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Patrick Fletcher
Deputy Editor

Deputy Editor. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2022 he has been Deputy Editor, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.