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'I hope Amy Pieters is proud' - Riejanne Markus wins women's Dutch road race title

Riejanne Markus (Jumbo-Visma) won the Dutch road race title on the VAM-Berg, her first elite women's national title in her career. Markus said it was an emotional day of racing and that she was thinking of compatriot Amy Pieters after her victory.

Markus was the strongest on the uphill finish beating Shirin van Anrooij (Trek-Segafredo) while Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) finished seven seconds back in third place, and Marianne Vos (also Jumbo-Visma) in fourth at nine seconds back.

“It's really wonderful to win here," Markus said. “It was quite an emotional day. Before the start we briefly discussed the situation of Amy Pieters, a good friend of mine.

"The button then had to be turned quickly. I felt good in the race. We did very well as a team today. In the final phase, it was wise not to lead too much, because Marianne was still behind it. 

"It was important to keep a cool head. I went early and saw Shirin almost coming alongside. Fortunately, it was enough and I became Dutch champion here."

Markus' thoughts turned to Pieters, who is making progress in her rehabilitation from a head injury sustained in a crash during a training camp in Spain six months ago.

"Last year I celebrated Amy's title with her. I miss her all year next to me in the race and think of her a lot. I hope she's a little proud of me now," Markus said.

The women's field raced 123km between Westerbork and the summit of VAM-Berg. Markus' teammate Vos ignited a breakaway with 40km to go and gained 50 seconds but she was brought back into the reduced main field with 20km from the finish.

At ten kilometers from the finish, Van Anrooij attacked and Markus followed her wheel. The pair had a lead of about 20 seconds at the foot of the final climb of the VAM-Berg. 

The chasing field was close to catching the leaders when Markus launched her winning attack in the last hundreds of metres to take the victory ahead of Van Anrooij.

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Kirsten Frattini

Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.

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