On stage 2 of the Boels Ladies Tour, Amalie Dideriksen (Boels Dolmans) sprinted to her first individual victory since winning the Danish road race championships. Crossing the finish line in Gennep first put an end to a period where things did not go to plan for Dideriksen who was visibly happy after the race.
The Danish champion had been visible on stage 1 in a two-rider break, and she started stage 2 in the same way. "In the beginning, I covered a lot of attacks because we thought they would let a group go. But actually, it took quite a long time before the breakaway went with Chantal Blaak in it for us. She has a good punch in the final, so we were fine with the situation."
In the peloton, a decision had to be made who would be Boels Dolmans' protected sprinter, Dideriksen or Amy Pieters, wearer of the intermediate sprint jersey. "Amy and I talked about who of us should save herself for the sprint, neither of us felt really good. I got the chance and prepared myself for the sprint in case it all came back together. Megan Guarnier covered me in the peloton, then Anna van der Breggen took the first pull to get us in a good position, then Amy took over."
In a hectic final, Dideriksen only had to sprint herself on the last 100 metres. Until there, she was led out by Pieters who still rolled to a fifth place after launching the 2016 world champion to stage victory.
"We were well-positioned at the front, but I heard the crash behind me on the last metres, and I hope nobody got hurt. It has been quite a tough time lately, so I am really happy to win again. It gives me a lot of motivation for the last part of the season."
With the mass finish, Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) defended her overall lead, but the Australian team also had a card to play in the sprint with Jolien D'hoore. The Belgian explains that the team's tactic was clear-cut.
"Our main goal today was to protect the leader's jersey. We needed to have a rider in the break ourselves, but there were still some dangerous riders up there. Amanda Spratt and Georgia Williams worked the whole day to chase them down with some help from Alé Cipollini. In the sprint, I had to come from far back and was catching too much wind. When I launched my sprint, I did what I could, but it was not enough."
One of these dangerous escapees was Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) who in fact held the virtual overall lead for a while. In the sprint, Brand's teammate Floortje Mackaij was one of the crash victims.
"There was good cooperation in the group at first, but eventually some riders started saving their legs for the finish. I tried to motivate everyone and kept going myself, but in the final two kilometres, everything came back together. I helped Floortje for the sprint, unfortunately, she crashed with 70 metres to go. But she is okay, which is all that matters. I hope that we can continue to race aggressively in the upcoming days," Brand looked back on the stage.
The Boels Ladies Tour continues with another flat stage on Friday, 31 August.