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Blaak wins Vargarda World Cup

Chantal Blaak (Specialized lululemon) leads Emma Johansson (Orica)

Chantal Blaak (Specialized lululemon) leads Emma Johansson (Orica) (Image credit: Bert Geerts/

Chantal Blaak (Specialized-lululemon) won the Open de Suède Vargarda World Cup on Sunday. The Dutchwoman beat her two compatriots, and late-race breakaway companions, Amy Pieters (Giant-Shimano) and Roxane Knetemann (Rabo-Liv Woman Cycling Team).

Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) won the sprint for fourth, and by finishing in eighth place, ahead of Orica's Emma Johansson, Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) ticked off another major achievement, securing the overall series win with one race to go. The World Cup finishes on Saturday, with one last chance for glory at the GP de Plouay.

How it unfolded

The Vårgårda road race World Cup is one of the hardest to predict of the series. It was 132 kilometres, 12 laps of the 11km course that was also part of Friday’s Team Time Trial World Cup, including a climb and some technical corners. In the past, it’s been won by everything from bunch sprints to solo attacks. Specialized-lululemon won the TTT with a new course record in the pouring rain, and it became clear that the team entered the road race still riding on that high.

The first attacks of the race, along with the rain, came almost instantly, with the Swedish national team taking advantage of the live broadcasts to take it in turns to try to escape, until 37-year-old Malin Rydlund managed it, joined by Bigla’s Vera Koedooder at the end of the first lap, and the pair worked together to get a gap up over three minutes.

Usually such an early move could be ignored, but Koedooder is the type of opportunist who is capable of staying out all day, and there were some serious chase attempts, with Blaak and Maaike Polspoel (Liv-Shimano) especially active – and surprisingly ORICA-AIS missing out on the moves.

Missing the chases proved problematic for the Australian team, when a group of eight riders finally caught Rydlund and Koedooder with four and a half laps to go. With all the other major teams now represented at the front, including top riders Carmen Small (Specialized) and Lucinda Brand (Rabo-Liv) it was down to ORICA to chase, taking nearly two laps to make the catch, and then pain really set in, as rider after rider exploded off the front trying to force another break, and their leader Johansson was left isolated.

The final 25km were a non-stop flurry of attacks, with Rabo pushing especially hard – as soon as one rider was caught, another one would try. Specialized-lululemon and Boels-Dolmans alternated between chasing everything down and trying themselves, Blaak escaping on the final climb, caught at the top by a chase group of around 20.

The run-in back to Vårgårda was full of even more attacks and catches until at 3km to go, Knetemann made one last attempt. This time only two riders could match her – Pieters, who was third here last year, and Blaak once again. Blaak tried to drop the other two in the final kilometres, but despite the hectic chase behind them, it came down to a sprint between those three. Pieters started her sprint first, but Blaak passed her, making it a perfect weekend for the team, adding her first solo World Cup victory to her Team Time Trial gold.


#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Chantal Blaak (Ned) Specialized - lululemon3:26:22
2Amy Pieters (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano
3Roxane Knetemann (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team
4Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team0:00:05
5Kirsten Wild (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano
6Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Specialized - lululemon
7Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team
8Elisabeth Armitstead (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team
9Lucinda Brand (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team
10Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica - AIS
11Elena Cecchini (Ita) Estado de Mexico Faren
12Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team
13Susanna Zorzi (Ita) Astana BePink Womens Team
14Claudia Lichternberg-Häusler (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano
15Trixi Worrack (Ger) Specialized - lululemon
16Rossella Ratto (Ita) Estado de Mexico Faren0:00:10
17Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Specialized - lululemon
18Evelyn Stevens (USA) Specialized - lululemon0:00:29
19Ellen Van Dijn (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team0:00:46
20Jermaine Post (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team
21Charlotte Becker (Ger) Wiggle Honda
22Maaike Polspoel (Bel) Team Giant-Shimano
23Desiree Ehrler (Swi) Bigla Cycling Team
24Sara Mustonen (Swe) Team Giant-Shimano
25Julie Leth (Den) Hitec Products0:00:48
26Linda Melanie Villumsen (NZl) Wiggle Honda
27Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda
28Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team0:02:18
29Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano0:02:21
30Joanne Kiesanowski (NZl) TIBCO / To The Top
31Vera Koedooder (Ned) Bigla Cycling Team
32Eugenia Bujak (Pol) BTC City Ljubljana
33Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Estado de Mexico Faren
34Ceclie Gotaas Johnsen (Nor) Hitec Products
35Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Team Rytger
36Romy Kasper (Ger) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team
37Shara Gillow (Aus) Orica - AIS
38Carmen Small McNellis (USA) Specialized - lululemon
39Elena Kuchinskaya (Rus) RusVelo
40Anastasiya Chulkova (Rus) RusVelo
41Emilie Moberg (Nor) Hitec Products0:02:36
42Alexandra Nessmar (Swe) Firefighters Upsala CK
43Emilia Fahlin (Swe) Wiggle Honda
44Malin Rydlund (Swe)Team Rytger0:10:56
45Lauren Stephens (USA) TIBCO / To The Top
46Jasmin Glaesser (Can) TIBCO / To The Top
47Oxana Kozonchuk (Rus) RusVelo
48Arianna Fidanza (Ita) Estado de Mexico Faren
49Monique van de Ree (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team
50Kelly Markus (Ned) Team Rytger
51Taryn Heather (Aus) Bigla Cycling Team
52Yulia Blindyuk (Rus) RusVelo
53Sara Headley Clafferty (USA) TIBCO - To The Top
54Ursa Pintar (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana
55Natalie van Gogh (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team
56Polona Batagelj (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana
57Liisa Ehrberg (Est) Estonia
58Mia Radotic (Cro) BTC City Ljubljana
59Henriette Woering (Ned) Team Rytger
60Ida Erngren (Swe) Sweden
61Lotta Lepistö (Fin) Bigla Cycling Team
62Martina Ritter (Aut) BTC City Ljubljana
63Kseniya Dobrynina (Rus) AstanaBepink
64Elke Gebhardt (Ger) Bigla Cycling Team
65Jacqueline Hahn (Aut) Bigla Cycling Team
66Miriam Bjørnsrud (Nor) Hitec Products
67Sara Olsson (Swe) Hitec Products
68Aizhan Zhaparova (Rus) RusVelo
69Natalia Boyarskaya (Rus) Servetto Footon
70Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica - AIS
71Rozanne Slik (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team0:11:38
72Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) Astana BePink Womens Team0:16:30
73Sara Penton (Swe) Sweden0:16:33


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