Skip to main content

Wiebes defends Simac Ladies Tour lead in hilly Limburg as ITT looms

LANDGRAAF NETHERLANDS SEPTEMBER 02 Lorena Wiebes of Netherlands and Team DSM Yellow leader jersey celebrates at podium during the 25th Simac Ladies Tour 2022 Stage 4 a 1352km stage from Landgraaf to Landgraaf SLT2022 UCIWWT on September 02 2022 in Landgraaf Netherlands Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images
Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) gained six more seconds on the stage 4 finish to hold the GC lead at the Simac Ladies Tour (Image credit: Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images)

Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) surprised herself by staying with the best over the hills of Limburg on stage 4 of the Simac Ladies Tour and defended her yellow jersey. In the end, only a late solo attack by Riejanne Markus (Jumbo-Visma) prevented Wiebes from taking another stage victory.

Wiebes finished the stage as runner-up, 14 seconds behind Markus, easily beating the rest of the peloton with another of her trademark sprints and pocketing six bonus seconds.

During the first stages, Wiebes had always been noncommittal about the race overall, taking it day by day and underlining that the general classification wasn’t a goal for her.

“I had a good day today, but it could just as well have been a bad day,” she explained. “Normally, the Cauberg isn’t exactly my friend, but today it went well.”

On the third ascent of the famous climb, Wiebes even went to the front of the peloton in a bid to maximise her chances. “I thought that if I set a steady pace, maybe they won’t attack, because then it would split again,” she explained.

Such a split had happened after the second ascent of the Kruisberg when Wiebes only just made it into the first group of 15 riders and was hanging on by a thread. Fortunately for Wiebes, things came back together again before the Cauberg, or the race could have gone very differently.

“I felt strong today,” Wiebes said after the stage. “And the team had worked so hard, I just had to keep going on the last climbs. The way Elise [Uijen] took turns, that was not normal for a first-year elite rider, and Leah [Kirchmann] was also super strong controlling the gap behind the front duo. It is a shame we lost Pfeiffer [Georgi] in a crash, but we got the best out of it today.”

Going into the time trial stage 5, 17.8 km around Sittard, Wiebes is 20 seconds ahead of Karlijn Swinkels (Jumbo-Visma), 27 seconds ahead of Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Trek-Segafredo), 29 seconds ahead of Alison Jackson (Liv Racing Xstra), and 30 seconds ahead of Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma). Seven riders sit at 33 seconds, while Markus is 58 seconds behind.

“I think it is to my advantage that the time trial course is quite technical, it goes up and down, left and right all the time. There aren’t many long straights, I don’t like these much. And there is rain forecast, that makes it even more technical. I hope to take my good legs there and be up there with the best. Usually during a stage race I feel I get better and better nine times out of 10, so hopefully it continues like this,” Wiebes said ahead to Saturday’s ITT.

Asked about her main rivals, Wiebes immediately pointed to Team Jumbo-Visma who have four riders within a minute of Wiebes with Swinkels, Henderson, Romy Kasper, and Markus.

“I will need to ride the best time trial of my life. Riejanne is super strong, so is Anna Henderson, and Jumbo have several girls close in GC. And there are more girls who are close, but we are going for it,” Wiebes promised to do her best.

Due to the general lack of time trials in the women’s race calendar, there aren’t many points of reference, but Wiebes has shown that she can hold her own against the clock if necessary. While her best ITT results are from short prologues, she finished fourth in the Baloise Ladies Tour stage 4 time trial of similar length, losing only five seconds to Cordon-Ragot on the occasion.

“Maybe we can start believing in the overall victory a little bit more, but first comes the time trial,” Wiebes concluded.

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

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.