Uneken: ‘This win is for Amy’

EasyToys Bloeizone Fryslan Tour 2022 - 11th Edition - 2nd stage Eastermar - Bakkeveen 135 km - 04/03/2022 - Lonneke Uneken (NED - Team SD Worx) - photo Gert-Jan Warrin/CV/SprintCyclingAgency©2022
Lonneke Uneken (SD Worx) wins stage 2 of the Bloeizone Fryslan Tour 2022 (Image credit: Sprint Cycling Agency)

Lonneke Uneken sprinted across the line during stage 2 of the Bloeizone Fryslan Tour to take the first SD Worx victory of the season, quickly acknowledging the work of her squad, though it was a teammate who couldn’t be there that was upmost in their thoughts.

Amy Pieters crashed in training in December, and remains unconscious according to the last medical update, leaving SD Worx lining up without the Dutch rider who for five years has been such an integral part of the team.

“We always have Amy in our minds and we try to fight together for her,” said Uneken.

"After a very difficult period, this is very rewarding. This win is for Amy. I hope it can give her and her family some strength."

How much to be able to deliver a win in her honour meant to the SD Worx riders was clearly evident last week as the emotion washed over Demi Vollering after she sunk to the tarmac beyond the finish line at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. "I would have loved to win, for Amy," Vollering said, with her voice cracking. “We just miss her, very much, in everything." 

Vollering was beaten to the line by Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) then, but the close call still offered encouragement ahead of the approaching bunch sprint on stage 2 of the  Bloeizone Fryslan Tour. At the Dutch race, formerly known as the Healthy Ageing Tour, Uneken battled with Trek-Segafredo’s Chloe Hosking to take victory in the flat 135km between Eastermar and Bakkeveen. 

"I felt it would be close when I came full into the wind,” said the 22 year old who has raced with SD Worx since 2020. “But I knew I might just beat her [Hosking] if I kept on sprinting. I'm happy to offer the team the first win, we already felt in opening weekend that our form was good. It's nice to get that confirmation."

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