No rewards for Team DSM as Lippert loses time in Itzulia Women opener

Esme Peperkamp (Team DSM) leads the peloton on stage 1 at Itzulia Women
Esme Peperkamp (Team DSM) leads the peloton on stage 1 at Itzulia Women (Image credit: Getty Images)

Team DSM were one of the teams with four riders in the first group when the peloton split on the two climbs in the middle of stage 1 of the Itzulia Women stage race.

However, the Dutch team was left chasing breakaways in the final as it missed the decisive moves, and in the end, team leader Liane Lippert lost valuable time in the general classification.

Floortje Mackaij almost made it to a group of four with eventual stage winner Demi Vollering, Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (both SD Worx), Lucinda Brand (Trek-Segafredo), and Elise Chabbey (Canyon-Sram) that had gone away in the descent from the last classified climb.

"In a downhill section, four riders got away, and Floortje was in between the peloton and the front for a while but wasn't able to make it across," said Team DSM directeur sportif Huub Duijn.

"After she was caught, Esmée [Peperkamp] started to pull for us, then later Juliette [Labous] and Floortje joined too. The gap was closed, and new attacks started. We were in the mix but unfortunately missed the right move that made it to the line.

When the front group was caught, Vollering's teammate Niamh Fisher-Black immediately counterattacked. An attentive Mackaij was on her wheel, but they could not get away from the group.

When Kristen Faulkner launched her move with 16 kilometres to go, Juliette Labous and Mackaij were right behind her but could not – or would not – react. Then, when Vollering made her move a few kilometres later, it was only Pauliena Rooijakkers who jumped on her wheel as Lippert chose to save her strength for the finish.

As Peperkamp was done for, only Labous and Mackaij were left to keep the gap small with help from FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope, but it was to no avail.

Lippert won the sprint for fourth place but lost 41 seconds to a front group she maybe ought to have tried to join herself.

Including time bonifications, the 24-year-old German now sits 53 seconds behind stage winner and overall leader Vollering with two stages to go, meaning that a GC victory may well be out of reach. Nonetheless, Duijn promised to continue racing actively.

"The team took responsibility in the chase when needed today. We will take that teamwork and aggressive racing style with us for tomorrow," concluded Duijn.

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Lukas Knöfler started working in cycling communications in 2013 and has seen the inside of the scene from many angles. Having worked as press officer for teams and races and written for several online and print publications, he has been Cyclingnews’ Women’s WorldTour correspondent since 2018.