Lorena Wiebes (Parkhotel Valkenburg) is quickly making a name for herself as one of the best sprinters in the world. Saturday’s victory at the RideLondon Classique was Wiebes’ twelfth win of the 2019 season, and her first in a UCI Women’s WorldTour one-day race.
In May, Wiebes completed a clean sweep of the Tour of Chongming Island in China, winning all three stages and the overall classification. Before this, she had already won the Nokere Koerse and Omloop van Borsele, as well as stage 1 of the Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race and finished runner-up in Brugge-De Panne and Gent-Wevelgem, beaten only by Kirsten Wild (WNT-Rotor).
June saw Wiebes win the SPAR Flanders Diamond Tour before sprinting to victory at the European Games in Minsk. This was then topped a week later when the 20-year-old won the Dutch road race championships. In the BeNe Ladies Tour, she won the final stage, and now she lined up against the world’s sprinting elite in London.
While other teams competed for the intermediate sprints, the Parkhotel Valkenburg riders and Wiebes in her Dutch champion’s jersey stayed near the front, but out of the wind, deliberately saving energy for the finale.
“The team did a good job to always keep Lorena in the front, not visible, but out of trouble,” Parkhotel Valkenburg team manager Esra Tromp explained. “Because of the high speed it was important to stay hidden in the peloton to lose as little energy as possible. The girls did a really good job. In the last 500 metres, Demi Vollering brought her to the front, Femke Markus was just behind. Lorena started the sprint really early, maybe a bit too early.”
On the finishing straight, Wiebes came up fast and passed Wild, taking the lead with 200 metres to go. Wild ended up being boxed in, and her swerve to the left ended up being the crucial move of the sprint as she clipped the wheel of Chloe Hosking (Alé Cipollini), initiating a mass crash. Wild was first over the line but was relegated for deviating from her line, giving the victory to Wiebes.
“The crash was a sad end to the race, a lot of girls are in pain, but for Lorena it is a really big win. Winning a one-day WorldTour race is amazing, and the atmosphere and crowds in London were really cool,” said Tromp. “And all the girls who want to win the European Championships next week were here, so it was good to show yourself here, a good final test.”
The women’s road race at the European Championships in Alkmaar is held on 10 August.