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Pieters claims European Road Championship title

Amy Pieters gave the home country its fifth European Championships gold medal, parlaying a long three-up breakaway into victory on a windswept race in Alkmaar on Saturday.

The 28-year-old topped Italy's Elena Cecchini and Lisa Klein (Germany) in a tense finale, repaying the faith of her Dutch squad who looked set to reel in the attack with two laps to go, but then eased off the gas in the last 10km and let the gap blow out.

"This is really special, because it's close to my home. It's a good win," Pieters said.

Pre-race favourite Lorena Wiebes (Netherlands) led home the chasing peloton ahead of Great Britain's Alice Barnes.

The Dutch team came out hitting hard, flying off the line and attacking repeatedly in the opening laps.  "It was a really hard race, early in the race with the whole national team we started in the first lap, and we kept going," Pieters said. "We had a hard head wind and also with the houses a lot of side wind, it was a really hard race."

How it unfolded

It was a sunny but very blustery day for the elite women's European Championships road race, with ten laps for a total of 115km on a pan-flat but technical 11.5km circuit. The Dutch team led the peloton off the line as if starting a cyclo-cross race, going flat out into the first lap and then peppering the field with attacks until a breakaway of three went clear.

Amy Pieters represented the home country, while Elena Cecchini (Italy) flew the flag of the defending champions along with Lisa Klein of Germany in the move.

The trio built up a lead of over two minutes, working smoothly together in the intense winds as the peloton splintered behind.

Still with nearly two minutes heading into two laps to go, the Dutch team finally came to the fore in the peloton to bring down the gap, seeminly in a repeat of last year's tactics.

The pace-setting of the Dutch and Belgian teams brought the gap down to a more manageable 44 seconds with one lap to go as Italy closed ranks behind, with five riders surrounding defending champion Marta Bastianelli.

The pace eased with 9km to go as the Germans came forward with the Dutch and sat up, letting the gap swell to 1:12 - by the time the attacks came from Great Britain with 6.5km to go, it was too late to reel the trio in. The home team put their faith in Pieters, who with 4km to go tightened her shoes to prepare for the finale.

With the medals all up the road, the demoralized peloton bunched up as no other team was willing to put their noses into the howling wind. Up ahead, the trio began to play cat and mouse with 1.5km to go, with Cecchini refusing to take a single pull. Pieters several times opened a gap to Klein's wheel to force the Italian forward, but she held firm.

Klein led into the final 500m, sitting on the front over the canal and into the final straightaway, looking back waiting for the sprint to come. Pieters opened the sprint finally with 200m to go and Cecchini could not get on terms.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Amy Pieters (Netherlands)2:56:03
2Elena Cecchini (Italy)0:00:01
3Lisa Klein (Germany)
4Lorena Wiebes (Netherlands)0:00:26
5Alice Barnes (Great Britain)
6Kirsten Wild (Netherlands)
7Lisa Brennauer (Germany)0:00:27
8Susanne Andersen (Norway)
9Christine Majerus (Luxembourg)
10Rasa Leleivyte (Lithuania)
11Lotte Kopecky (Belgium)
12Sheyla Gutierrez Ruiz (Spain)
13Marianne Vos (Netherlands)
14Roxane Fournier (France)0:00:28
15Charlotte Becker (Germany)
16Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Italy)0:00:30
17Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy)
18Aude Biannic (France)
19Marta Bastianelli (Italy)
20Nicola Juniper (Great Britain)0:00:31
21Tatiana Guderzo (Italy)0:00:32
22Soraya Paladin (Italy)0:00:33
23Anna Henderson (Great Britain)0:00:35
24Romy Kasper (Germany)0:00:38
25Marta Cavalli (Italy)
26Kelly Druyts (Belgium)0:00:39
27Lucinda Brand (Netherlands)0:00:40
28Chantal Blaak (Netherlands)
29Sofie De Vuyst (Belgium)0:01:16
30Pernille Mathiesen (Denmark)0:01:17
31Mieke Kröger (Germany)0:01:21
32Trixi Worrack (Germany)0:01:52
33Demi Vollering (Netherlands)0:05:43
34Kaat Hannes (Belgium)
35Kathrin Schweinberger (Austria)0:06:17
36Dorota Przezak (Poland)0:06:18
37Alice Sharpe (Ireland)
38Mia Radotić (Croatia)
39Andrea Waldis (Switzerland)
40Maryna Ivaniuk (Ukraine)
41Jarmila Machačová (Czech Republic)
42Kelly Van den Steen (Belgium)
43Liisa Ehrberg (Estonia)
44Magdalena Sadlecka (Poland)0:06:19
45Monika Brzezna (Poland)
46Arianna Fidanza (Italy)
47Anastasiia Chursina (Russian Federation)0:06:20
48Severine Eraud (France)
49Weronika Humelt (Poland)
50Valeriya Kononenko (Ukraine)
51Eugénie Duval (France)
52Louise Hansen (Denmark)
53Valerie Demey (Belgium)0:06:21
54Olena Sharha (Ukraine)
55Tatsiana Sharakova (Belarus)
56Olga Shekel (Ukraine)
57Lourdes Oyarbide Jimenez (Spain)
58Alicia Gonzalez Blanco (Spain)
59Gloria Rodriguez Sanchez (Spain)
60Hayley Simmonds (Great Britain)
61Lucy Garner (Great Britain)
62Kathrin Hammes (Germany)0:06:22
63Alba Teruel Ribes (Spain)
64Sarah Rijkes (Austria)0:06:23
65Hannah Barnes (Great Britain)0:06:25
66Pascale Jeuland (France)
67Chantal Hoffmann (Luxembourg)
68Christina Schweinberger (Austria)0:06:41
69Nicole Hanselmann (Switzerland)0:06:51

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