Niewiadoma goes down fighting in Worlds road race

Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Poland) gave the all-conquering Dutch a run for their money in the elite women's road race at the UCI Road World Championships but had to settle for fifth in the finale.

The Polish climber tried to explode the race on the final lap with a series of searing attacks but each time she was pulled back by the Dutch team which had three riders in the race's major breakaway. When eventual winner, Chantal Blaak, broke free to win solo Niewiadoma found herself marking the wrong Dutch rider, and in that instant, her chances of winning were over. She still had enough in the tank to salvage her gutsy display with a top-five finish but admitted the course hadn't been hard enough for her.

"It didn't work out as I planned but that's because the Dutch team controlled the race from the start until the end," she told Cyclingnews.

"They had really strong girls and even though I tried to attack it was impossible for me to drop them."

The Dutch team's strength and depth were clear for all to see when Annemiek van Vleuten and Anna van der Breggen joined Blaak, who had been in an earlier move, at the head of the race.

As soon as the Dutch trio were united it was their race to lose. Niewiadoma, to her credit, tried to break free but she had to pick a rider to mark and unfortunately left Blaak unguarded.

"Annemiek and Anna were in incredible shape, as you could see, and it wasn't like we were out there racing against juniors or something," she said.

"I was thinking that they'd ride for Anna but then I saw that Annemiek was always on the front so I thought that either of them was probably going to win it but I didn't think about Chantal. I thought they might try and bridge over to her but it didn't happen."

Once Blaak had jumped clear it was left to the non-Dutch riders in the break to chase. Audrey Cordon, Niewiadoma and Britain's Hannah Barnes tried to lift the pace and mount a counter but in the end, they were swamped by the bunch.

Despite missing out on a medal, Niewiadoma was proud of her ride and how she had taken it to her rivals on a course that wasn't quite tough enough for her.

"I think that if the climb had been longer or a bit steeper then I could have done something more but it was a long downhill and the top of the climb was quite a long way from the finish so it wasn't an ideal situation," she said.

"I'm a climber so I'm going to try for my opportunities. I know that I'm not going to be super explosive on the flat roads. It's just a bit that the roads were too flat in the last eight kilometres to try and do anything special."

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