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Sans Vos, Jumbo-Visma race aggressively in Drenthe

Volta Comunitat Valenciana Femines 2022 6th Edition 3rd stage Vila Real Vistabella del Maestrat 135 km 19022022 Anouska Koster NED Team Jumbo Visma photo GomezSprintCyclingAgency2022
Anouska Koster (Jumbo-Visma) (Image credit: SprintCyclingAgency)

As one of two Women’s WorldTour races on home soil, the Ronde van Drenthe was an important event for Team Jumbo-Visma – but without Marianne Vos and Anna Henderson in the line-up, the team had to adjust its tactics. Putting riders in every move, the Dutch squad ended up with lots of TV time and a ninth place in the final sprint.

In the first half of the race, Romy Kasper stayed near the front of the peloton throughout the six cobblestone sectors and took enough points in the sprints at the end of the sectors to earn herself a trip to the podium as the overall winner of the ‘keienprijs’.

Teuntje Beekhuis was the next to feature, going on the attack with Liv Racing Xstra’s Marta Jaskulska and riding off the front for almost twenty kilometres, including the second of four ascents of the VAM-berg. After Beekhuis and Jaskulska had been caught, Kasper featured in a group of four that got away shortly after the third time up VAM-berg but was reeled in after only a few minutes.

Jip van den Bos immediately counterattacked, and her attack initiated a flurry of moves that coalesced into a breakaway of five riders. They got some unexpected free time when the group that chased them was led the wrong way in a roundabout, increasing their advantage to almost half a minute, but the furious chase by Trek-Segafredo and Canyon-SRAM meant that Van den Bos and her companions were caught before the final ascent of the VAM-berg.

It was Riejanne Markus who tried to force a selection on the short, steep slopes of the landscaped landfill site, splitting the peloton into several groups, but with no teammates in the front group and Pfeiffer Georgi (Team DSM) chasing hard to get her sprinter, the eventual winner Lorena Wiebes, back into contention, this move also came to nought.

Finally, it was the turn of Anouska Koster. The 28-year-old from Fryslân, the province northwest of Drenthe, knows the roads of the Ronde van Drenthe well and placed third in the 2020 Dutch championships held with the finish atop the VAM-berg.

11 kilometres from the line, Koster followed an attack by Nina Buijsman (Human Powered Health) that led to a front group of four riders who fought hard against the sprinters’ teams on the run-in to the finish in Hoogeveen. Coming into the finishing town and with the reduced peloton only seconds behind, Koster attacked with four kilometres to go, trying to go solo.

Sarah Roy (Canyon-SRAM), the strongest sprinter in the breakaway, closed the move down, but Koster tried again with 1500 metres left to race. Roy was on her wheel again, but Koster persevered and, never looking back, rode the Australian off of her wheel, causing the other three escapees to give up. Koster kept going on the final kilometre, but the peloton was too strong, swallowing her with 500 metres to go. In the end, Van den Bos sprinted to ninth place to secure a top-ten result for the team.

“We rode an excellent race as a team. The balance is positive, and this is a good starting position for the coming weeks,” said sports director Carmen Small after the race, already looking forward to the races to come. The next Women’s WorldTour race is the Trofeo Binda where Vos will be back in action – and where she could become the first rider to win the Italian classic for a fifth time.

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