Having finished second at Brabantse Pijl last season, Demi Vollering's win at the rain-soaked race this year was no surprise. The manner of the Dutchwoman's victory, however, was more unique.
More known for her finishing sprint than solo attacks, Demi Vollering found a new way to win Brabantse Pijl in Overijse, crossing the line alone 22 seconds ahead of her nearest competitors to take her first win of the 2022 season.
The result, built from an attack with her compatriot Pauliena Rooijakkers (Canyon-Sram) at 30km to go in the 141km race, came days after something of a disappointing second place at Amstel Gold Race, where SD Worx failed to turn their numbers advantage in the lead group into a win in Berg en Terblijt.
Speaking after the finish of Brabantse Pijl, Vollering said that the team learned from their loss in Limburg, noting that feeling the defeat in that way ultimately proved to be good for them.
"I think the whole team learned from it and today we showed again a really cool race," Vollering told the assembled media, including Cyclingnews. "We were all pretty good. I think Amstel was good for us to see that ok, we need to be sharp again."
At Brabantse Pijl, Vollering took off alone on the final strip of cobbles up the Moskesstraat, leaving Rooijakkers behind and soloing the final 10km to the finish. It was the final act of an offensive race for Vollering, the 25-year-old having earlier been in a dangerous move along with teammate Marlen Reusser, Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-Sram), and Juliette Labous (Team DSM) at 60km to go.
The move was chased down by Trek-Segafredo soon afterwards, though, but a lap later Rooijakkers went, launching what turned out to be the winning move.
"I always thought I could do it, but I never tried it," Vollering said of her solo attack. "I always hesitated a bit in races, I think. Today I felt pretty good, and with Anna on the radio it's nice to have her. She can do this really good, of course, and I can learn so much from her.
"I went pretty hard on Moskesstraat, but I think Rooijakkers was also quite tired. She's a pretty strong rider. The way she went, I think we were all on the limit at the moment.
"She attacked and I had to make sure I didn't hesitate and went in her wheel. I know she's pretty strong riding solo on the front. It was pretty nice to be with her in the breakaway."
Vollering's win in her third race of the April Classics campaign comes off the back of a three-week training camp in the Sierra Nevada in Spain. She said that she had done some heavy practise on short efforts in the mountains, something which has stood her in good stead this week and for La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, too.
"I did quite a lot of shorter efforts, like two to three minutes, something that I didn't do so much before," she said. "Now for the Classics I can really use the shorter efforts also. It worked out, I think, so that's cool to see.
"For Flèche it's good to learn from [SD Worx DS] Anna van der Breggen and know how she always did it. But of course, the Mur de Huy is also a climb that really suited Anna so you need to find out how to do it yourself. It's a hard climb do you can explode on it. You have to learn to do it with years.
"Today I that my legs were pretty OK, so it gives me a lot of confidence for the upcoming races."
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Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.
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