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) Team||Result|
|1||Chantal Blaak (Ned) Specialized - lululemon||3:26:22|
|2||Amy Pieters (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano|
|3||Roxane Knetemann (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team|
|4||Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team||0:00:05|
|5||Kirsten Wild (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano|
|6||Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Specialized - lululemon|
|7||Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team|
|8||Elisabeth Armitstead (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team|
|9||Lucinda Brand (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team|
|10||Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica - AIS|
|11||Elena Cecchini (Ita) Estado de Mexico Faren|
|12||Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team|
|13||Susanna Zorzi (Ita) Astana BePink Womens Team|
|14||Claudia Lichternberg-Häusler (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano|
|15||Trixi Worrack (Ger) Specialized - lululemon|
|16||Rossella Ratto (Ita) Estado de Mexico Faren||0:00:10|
|17||Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Specialized - lululemon|
|18||Evelyn Stevens (USA) Specialized - lululemon||0:00:29|
|19||Ellen Van Dijn (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team||0:00:46|
|20||Jermaine Post (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team|
|21||Charlotte Becker (Ger) Wiggle Honda|
|22||Maaike Polspoel (Bel) Team Giant-Shimano|
|23||Desiree Ehrler (Swi) Bigla Cycling Team|
|24||Sara Mustonen (Swe) Team Giant-Shimano|
|25||Julie Leth (Den) Hitec Products||0:00:48|
|26||Linda Melanie Villumsen (NZl) Wiggle Honda|
|27||Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda|
|28||Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team||0:02:18|
|29||Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano||0:02:21|
|30||Joanne Kiesanowski (NZl) TIBCO / To The Top|
|31||Vera Koedooder (Ned) Bigla Cycling Team|
|32||Eugenia Bujak (Pol) BTC City Ljubljana|
|33||Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Estado de Mexico Faren|
|34||Ceclie Gotaas Johnsen (Nor) Hitec Products|
|35||Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Team Rytger|
|36||Romy Kasper (Ger) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team|
|37||Shara Gillow (Aus) Orica - AIS|
|38||Carmen Small McNellis (USA) Specialized - lululemon|
|39||Elena Kuchinskaya (Rus) RusVelo|
|40||Anastasiya Chulkova (Rus) RusVelo|
|41||Emilie Moberg (Nor) Hitec Products||0:02:36|
|42||Alexandra Nessmar (Swe) Firefighters Upsala CK|
|43||Emilia Fahlin (Swe) Wiggle Honda|
|44||Malin Rydlund (Swe)Team Rytger||0:10:56|
|45||Lauren Stephens (USA) TIBCO / To The Top|
|46||Jasmin Glaesser (Can) TIBCO / To The Top|
|47||Oxana Kozonchuk (Rus) RusVelo|
|48||Arianna Fidanza (Ita) Estado de Mexico Faren|
|49||Monique van de Ree (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team|
|50||Kelly Markus (Ned) Team Rytger|
|51||Taryn Heather (Aus) Bigla Cycling Team|
|52||Yulia Blindyuk (Rus) RusVelo|
|53||Sara Headley Clafferty (USA) TIBCO - To The Top|
|54||Ursa Pintar (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana|
|55||Natalie van Gogh (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team|
|56||Polona Batagelj (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana|
|57||Liisa Ehrberg (Est) Estonia|
|58||Mia Radotic (Cro) BTC City Ljubljana|
|59||Henriette Woering (Ned) Team Rytger|
|60||Ida Erngren (Swe) Sweden|
|61||Lotta Lepistö (Fin) Bigla Cycling Team|
|62||Martina Ritter (Aut) BTC City Ljubljana|
|63||Kseniya Dobrynina (Rus) AstanaBepink|
|64||Elke Gebhardt (Ger) Bigla Cycling Team|
|65||Jacqueline Hahn (Aut) Bigla Cycling Team|
|66||Miriam Bjørnsrud (Nor) Hitec Products|
|67||Sara Olsson (Swe) Hitec Products|
|68||Aizhan Zhaparova (Rus) RusVelo|
|69||Natalia Boyarskaya (Rus) Servetto Footon|
|70||Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica - AIS|
|71||Rozanne Slik (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team||0:11:38|
|72||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) Astana BePink Womens Team||0:16:30|
|73||Sara Penton (Swe) Sweden||0:16:33|
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