Van der Breggen wins women's Amstel Gold Race

Olympic road champion Anna van der Breggen soloed to victory in the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday off the back of a perfectly-timed attack, with her teammate Lizzie Deignan winning a five-up sprint for second place to make it a Boels-Dolmans one-two. 

Boels-Dolmans had indicated it planned to target the three Ardennes races, but a slower start to the team’s spring compared to a dominant 2016 classics season has invited endless questions over the last month. The one-two punch at the sixth round of the UCI Women’s WorldTour served as as an emphatic response to the naysayers in Valkenburg.

The fourth edition of the Amstel Gold Race was the first edition following a 14-year hiatus and, joins the new Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the existing Flèche Wallonne to provide the women’s peloton with its first proper Ardennes Week. The biggest names eagerly embraced the opportunity to race over Holland’s most iconic hills and by the time the live broadcast began, with 20 kilometres left to race, the bunch had been decimated.

Van der Breggen’s race winning-move was made when she marked an attack by Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott) on the third time up the Bemelerberg. With UCI Women’s WorldTour leader Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) following, the pair bridged across to Deignan, Kasia Niewiadoma (WM3 Cycling) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5). With eight kilometres left, including the fourth and final time up the Cauberg, the six riders had a 13-second advantage over approximately 16 chasers.

Van der Breggen waited less than a kilometre to launch her attack. She immediately pocketed 10 seconds over her five former break-mates, and hit the base of the Cauberg with a 30-second lead. Although Deignan and Niewiadoma proved two seconds quicker up the final climb, Van der Breggen’s gap was big enough to fend off any challenges on the flat, fast run-in to the finish. Relieved and elated, she reached the finish line alone.

“This was the big goal of the spring – not only this race but the upcoming two races,” said Van der Breggen. “I’m happy to have this shape finally now. You can gamble on this week, but it’s always hard to have the right shape at the right time.

“It’s difficult to have this shape for three months,” she added. “It’s not possible. If you’re good at the beginning of the season, it’s difficult to be as good this week, and this is an important week because if you’re good, you have three big races."

How it unfolded

Van der Breggen and Deignan shared a leadership role on Easter Sunday. Both had contended with illness during the opening weeks of the season but arrived on the start line in Maastricht feeling fit and motivated ahead of the 121-kilometre day.

“We planned for an aggressive race,” said Deignan. “With both me and Anna healthy again, we felt it was possible to shoulder the responsibility of four of the team tasked with putting the rest of the peloton in the hurt box.”

Chantal Blaak, Karol-Ann Canuel, Amy Pieters and Megan Guarnier, back in the bunch for the first time since her crash at Omloop Hageland in February, attacked the early climbs and put the race in the gutter in the wind over the top. Their work translated into early attrition and mid-race splits. Before the first 66-kilometre opening lap had been completed, the peloton was reduced to 35 riders. All six Boels-Dolmans riders had made the selection.

The second ascent of the Cauberg further split the group. Blaak, Deignan and Van der Breggen were part of an eight-rider breakaway that led across the second passage of the finish line. When they were caught, Pieters countered. She gained a small gap before she was joined first by Audrey Cordon (Wiggle-High5) and then Roxanne Knetemann (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) and Tatiana Riabchenko (Lensworld-Kuota).

When the quartet was swept up on the lowers slopes of the Cauberg, Deignan lifted the pace further, escaping with Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5) and Kasia Niewiadoma (WM3 Energie).

“I was contributing as much as Elisa and Kaisa,” said Deignan. “I was confident if I went to the line with them that I could win, but the commitment from all three of us was not enough to really stay away.”

With the leaders not fully committed to the escape and a strong chase led largely by Ellen van Dijk (Team Sunweb), the gap held steady between 10-20 seconds for the first half of the final lap.

Van Vleuten attacked the third time up the Bemelerberg, the 16th of the 17 climbs. Van der Breggen marked the move, as did Rivera. The trio bridged across to Deignan, Longo Borghini and Niewiadoma. With eight kilometres left, including the fourth and final time up the Cauberg, the six riders had a 13-second advantage over approximately 16 chasers.

“That was the plan – for me to attack on the Cauberg two laps out and for Anna to counter,” Deignan explained. “It was exactly to plan as Anna bridged over to the break I had formed. It was difficult to communicate but I knew if Anna had good legs she would go. When she made her move I had a smile on my face because I knew she would win.”

Van der Breggen made that race-winning move with a bit more than seven kilometres left to race. Her jump afforded her an immediate ten-second gap, and she hit the base of the Cauberg with a 30-second lead and plenty of time on the finishing straight to celebrate her first victory for her new team. 

Rivera had been distanced up the Cauberg but clawed her way back to the chasers as they cat and moused their way to the finish line. Deignan slowed and pulled to the left side of the road while Niewiadoma, Van Vleuten and Longo Borghini stayed to the right. The Briton then swung across the road and onto the front of the chase group before opening her sprint in the final 150 metres.

“There was a cross-wind from the left, so I rode tight on the right-hand barrier, knowing whoever started the sprint would have to do so into the wind,” said Deignan. “I kept one eye on everyone in my wheel and jumped when I saw that they had started.”

Deignan pointed to the Boels Rental and Dolmans Group jersey on her rainbow-banded orange jersey as she crossed the line ahead of Niewiadoma and Van Vleuten, who were afforded a rare tie for third place.

“As a team, we rode very well,” Deignan said. “We all feel confident and excited ahead of the rest of the week. It’s exciting that a team with full health can race aggressively and play the beautiful tactic game again. That’s where we excel.”

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam3:15:57
2Elizabeth Deignan (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam0:00:55
3Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) WM3 Pro CyclingRow 2 - Cell 2
3Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Orica Scott WomenRow 3 - Cell 2
5Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Wiggle High5Row 4 - Cell 2
6Coryn Rivera (USA) Team Sunweb Women0:01:02
7Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam0:01:51
8Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Fra) Canyon SRAM RacingRow 7 - Cell 2
9Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling TeamRow 8 - Cell 2
10Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) Team Sunweb WomenRow 9 - Cell 2
11Chantal Blaak (Ned) Boels Dolmans CyclingteamRow 10 - Cell 2
12Audrey Cordon Ragot (Fra) Wiggle High5Row 11 - Cell 2
13Tetiana Riabchenko (Ukr) Lensworld-KuotaRow 12 - Cell 2
14Janneke Ensing (Ned) Alé CipolliniRow 13 - Cell 2
15Shara Gillow (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine FuturoscopeRow 14 - Cell 2
16Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Boels Dolmans CyclingteamRow 15 - Cell 2
17Flavia Oliveira (Bra) Lares-WaowdealsRow 16 - Cell 2
18Roxane Knetemann (Ned) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine FuturoscopeRow 17 - Cell 2
19Lisa Klein (Ger) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team0:03:36
20Eva Buurman (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil Cycling TeamRow 19 - Cell 2
21Arianna Fidanza (Ita) Astana Women's TeamRow 20 - Cell 2
22Malgorzata Jasinska (Pol) Cylance Pro CyclingRow 21 - Cell 2
23Alison Jackson (Can) BePink CogeasRow 22 - Cell 2
24Anna Zita Maria Stricker (Ita) BTC City LjubljanaRow 23 - Cell 2
25Sara Penton (Swe) Team Veloconcept WomenRow 24 - Cell 2
26Sofie De Vuyst (Bel) Lares-WaowdealsRow 25 - Cell 2
27Eugenia Bujak (Pol) BTC City LjubljanaRow 26 - Cell 2
28Ganna Solovei (Ukr) Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil Cycling TeamRow 27 - Cell 2
29Thalita De Jong (Ned) Lares-WaowdealsRow 28 - Cell 2
30Agnieszka Skalniak (Pol) Astana Women's TeamRow 29 - Cell 2
31Kelly Van Den Steen (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Guill D'orRow 30 - Cell 2
32Lauren Kitchen (Aus) WM3 Pro CyclingRow 31 - Cell 2
33Polona Batagelj (Slo) BTC City LjubljanaRow 32 - Cell 2
34Rossella Ratto (Ita) Cylance Pro CyclingRow 33 - Cell 2
35Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Team Sunweb WomenRow 34 - Cell 2
36Hanna Nilsson (Swe) BTC City LjubljanaRow 35 - Cell 2
37Soraya Paladin (Ita) Alé CipolliniRow 36 - Cell 2
38Katrine Aalerud (Nor) Hitec ProductsRow 37 - Cell 2
39Vita Heine (Nor) Hitec ProductsRow 38 - Cell 2
40Anouska Koster (Ned) WM3 Pro CyclingRow 39 - Cell 2
41Emilia Fahlin (Swe) Wiggle High5Row 40 - Cell 2
42Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans CyclingteamRow 41 - Cell 2
43Nina Buysman (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil Cycling TeamRow 42 - Cell 2
44Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica Scott WomenRow 43 - Cell 2
45Anna Potokina (Rus) Servetto GiustaRow 44 - Cell 2
46Pauliena Rooijakkers (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil Cycling TeamRow 45 - Cell 2
47Clara Koppenburg (Ger) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team0:03:45
48Leah Kirchmann (Can) Team Sunweb Women0:03:55
49Esther Van Veen (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil Cycling TeamRow 48 - Cell 2
50Eri Yonamine (Jpn) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine FuturoscopeRow 49 - Cell 2
51Sarah Roy (Aus) Orica Scott Women0:04:06
52Victorie Guilman (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope0:04:09
53Marianne Vos (Ned) WM3 Pro Cycling0:04:38
54Aude Biannic (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine FuturoscopeRow 53 - Cell 2
55Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Lensworld-KuotaRow 54 - Cell 2
56Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Alé Cipollini0:05:39
57Elena Cecchini (Ita) Canyon SRAM RacingRow 56 - Cell 2
58Trixi Worrack (Ger) Canyon SRAM RacingRow 57 - Cell 2
59Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Canyon SRAM RacingRow 58 - Cell 2
60Sabrina Stultiens (Ned) Team Sunweb Women0:07:44
61Rozanne Slik (Ned) Team Sunweb WomenRow 60 - Cell 2
62Moniek Tenniglo (Ned) WM3 Pro CyclingRow 61 - Cell 2
63Jeanne Korevaar (Ned) WM3 Pro Cycling0:08:02
64Claudia Lichtenberg (Ger) Wiggle High50:10:22
65Susanne Andersen (Nor) Hitec Products0:11:47
66Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Canyon SRAM RacingRow 65 - Cell 2
67Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling TeamRow 66 - Cell 2
68Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) Lensworld-KuotaRow 67 - Cell 2
69Amelie Rivat (Fra) Lares-WaowdealsRow 68 - Cell 2
70Jelena Eric (Srb) BTC City LjubljanaRow 69 - Cell 2
71Ilaria Sanguineti (Ita) BePink CogeasRow 70 - Cell 2
72Allie Dragoo (USA) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling TeamRow 71 - Cell 2
73Jessy Druyts (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Guill D'orRow 72 - Cell 2
DNFMayuko Hagiwara (Jpn) Wiggle High5Row 73 - Cell 2
DNFAnnette Edmondson (Aus) Wiggle High5Row 74 - Cell 2
DNFAlexis Ryan (USA) Canyon SRAM RacingRow 75 - Cell 2
DNFGracie Elvin (Aus) Orica Scott WomenRow 76 - Cell 2
DNFJenelle Crooks (Aus) Orica Scott WomenRow 77 - Cell 2
DNFKatrin Garfoot (Aus) Orica Scott WomenRow 78 - Cell 2
DNFMarie Vilmann (Den) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling TeamRow 79 - Cell 2
DNFRomy Kasper (Ger) Alé CipolliniRow 80 - Cell 2
DNFDaiva Tuslaite (Ltu) Alé CipolliniRow 81 - Cell 2
DNFCarlee Taylor (Aus) Alé CipolliniRow 82 - Cell 2
DNFSheyla Gutierrez Ruiz (Spa) Cylance Pro CyclingRow 83 - Cell 2
DNFMarta Tagliaferro (Ita) Cylance Pro CyclingRow 84 - Cell 2
DNFWubbigje Regina Knol (Ned) Cylance Pro CyclingRow 85 - Cell 2
DNFPernille Mathiesen (Den) Team Veloconcept WomenRow 86 - Cell 2
DNFSara Mustonen Lichan (Swe) Team Veloconcept WomenRow 87 - Cell 2
DNFAmber Leone Neben (USA) Team Veloconcept WomenRow 88 - Cell 2
DNFChristina Siggaard (Den) Team Veloconcept WomenRow 89 - Cell 2
DNFDoris Schweizer (Swi) Team Veloconcept WomenRow 90 - Cell 2
DNFTereza Medvedova (Svk) BePink CogeasRow 91 - Cell 2
DNFKatia Ragusa (Ita) BePink CogeasRow 92 - Cell 2
DNFMaria Vittoria Sperotto (Ita) BePink CogeasRow 93 - Cell 2
DNFKseniya Tuhai (Blr) BePink CogeasRow 94 - Cell 2
DNFMiriam Bjørnsrud (Nor) Hitec ProductsRow 95 - Cell 2
DNFIngvild Gåskjenn (Nor) Hitec ProductsRow 96 - Cell 2
DNFEmilie Moberg (Nor) Hitec ProductsRow 97 - Cell 2
DNFDaniela Reis (Por) Lares-WaowdealsRow 98 - Cell 2
DNFBryony Van Velzen (Ned) Lares-WaowdealsRow 99 - Cell 2
DNFKim De Baat (Bel) Lensworld-KuotaRow 100 - Cell 2
DNFMaaike Polspoel (Bel) Lensworld-KuotaRow 101 - Cell 2
DNFWinanda Spoor (Ned) Lensworld-KuotaRow 102 - Cell 2
DNFGreta Richioud (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine FuturoscopeRow 103 - Cell 2
DNFUrša Pintar (Slo) BTC City LjubljanaRow 104 - Cell 2
DNFIsabelle Beckers (Bel) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 105 - Cell 2
DNFJessie Daams (Bel) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 106 - Cell 2
DNFChantal Hoffmann (Lux) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 107 - Cell 2
DNFAnna Kiesenhofer (Aut) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 108 - Cell 2
DNFPuck Moonen (Ned) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 109 - Cell 2
DNFSofia Beggin (Ita) Astana Women's TeamRow 110 - Cell 2
DNFSofia Bertizzolo (Ita) Astana Women's TeamRow 111 - Cell 2
DNFOlena Pavlukhina (Aze) Astana Women's TeamRow 112 - Cell 2
DNFLara Vieceli (Ita) Astana Women's TeamRow 113 - Cell 2
DNFKseniia Dobrynina (Rus) Servetto GiustaRow 114 - Cell 2
DNFTing Ying Huang (Tpe) Servetto GiustaRow 115 - Cell 2
DNFLaura Camila Lozano Ramirez (Col) Servetto GiustaRow 116 - Cell 2
DNFAlice Gasparini (Ita) Servetto GiustaRow 117 - Cell 2
DNFEsra Tromp (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil Cycling TeamRow 118 - Cell 2
DNFNathalie Bex (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Guill D'orRow 119 - Cell 2
DNFValerie Demey (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Guill D'orRow 120 - Cell 2
DNFDemmy Druyts (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Guill D'orRow 121 - Cell 2
DNFFien Delbaere (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Guill D'orRow 122 - Cell 2

 

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