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European Championships: Women's road race - Live coverage

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Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of the elite women's road race at the UEC European Road Race Championships.

As the Cyclingnews blimp takes height above Trento, the riders are at the official start line outside the city after a 3km neutralised roll-out.

There is a slight delay to the start after an accident out on the circuit involving a race vehicle.  

The elite women race for 107.2km but cover the 13.2km circuit eight times.

The 13.2km road race circuit around Trento includes the 3.6km long Povo climb and a 250 metre elevation gain per lap.  

The final four kilometres are on flat city centre roads but with a number of turns before the finishing straight. 

They're off! 

The road is now clear and so the riders roll out. 

There are immediate attacks. 

The early kilometres takes the riders through the centre of Trento but they soon hit the Povo climb.  

The pace is high on the climb.

We can see Germany massing on the front to set the pace. 

Despite the absence of Anna van der Breggen, the Netherlands remain the team to beat, with previous European road race winners Marianne Vos (2017), Amy Pieters (2019) and the defending winner Annemiek van Vleuten all chasing another title.   

Denmark’s Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, Switzerland’s Marlen Reusser, Belgium’s Lotte Kopecky, Poland’s Kasia Niewiadoma and the Italians Elisa Longo Borghini, Marta Cavalli and Elisa Balsamo will be hoping to end the Dutch domination.

There is no break yet but we expect the Povo climb to spark attacks. 

100km to go

The Netherlands are Italy are also moving up front and setting a high but steady pace.

The pace may seem steady but riders are being spat out of the back. 

The steepest part of the Povo climb is at 8% and even Lisa Klein is suffering. 

Over the top of the climb and the attacks start.

As the riders return to central Trento, the peloton is still together. 

Germany is back leading the line and clearly looking to make a hard race.  

90km to go

The peloton passes through the finish area for the first time and see the tight corners and taste the smooth but cobbled road. 

The electronic timing confirms that 25 riders have already been dropped. 

The peloton is lined out but there is still no attack or breakaway.

We can see all the major nations upfront as they stay vigilant for the attacks. 

This is the second of eight times up the Povo climb.

Attack! 

Over the top of the climb and we have some action. 

Eugénie Duval of France is the first to ignite the race.

She is joined by Germany's Tanja Erath but the group is closing in on them.

All back together. The Italian and Dutch teams close down the attack but France are trying again. 

80km to go

The French rider is Audrey Cordon-Ragot. She leads by 100m, as Germany take control of the peloton and the chase.
 

The riders pass through the pits and feed zone, with several riders taking bidons. 

It's hot out there today, with the Italian summer still strong.  It's 28C out on the road. 

Audrey Cordon-Ragot has opened a 20-second lead on the peloton as she passes through the finish area.

The peloton is down to just 57 riders after this second lap. That indicates how hard the race has been, despite few attacks. 

We have more attacks from the peloton.

Omer Shapira of Israel attacks and sparks the creation of a big group of riders.

However the race is very fluid for now.

The group sweeps up Audrey Cordon-Ragot  and so a new race situation begins.  

Meanwhile, more riders drop out of the back due to the high speed. 

The speed is so high that even Italian and French riders are being dropped. 

As the riders return to the Povo climb, the pace has eased slightly. 

At the top of the climb, the Italian riders move to the front, ready for attacks over the false flat and early descent. 

Attack by France again. 

They seem determined to try to break up the race. 

Eugénie Duval is the French rider out front. 

She has 10 seconds.

Duval has extended her lead to 25 seconds as she rides through the finish area.

She's trying to hurt the peloton, while allowing her teammates to stay protected.

60km to go

The peloton has eased with Norway leading.   

The speed of the race has reduced the peloton to just 40 or so riders. 

There's a feeling the race will explode soon. 

The riders are on the Povo yet again.

Attack from Italy. 

Sofia Bertizzolo attacked on theflase flat over the top of the climb. 

Other riders join here. 

Ellen van Dijk ups the speed on the front of the attack. The Netherlands have started to roll out their strategy. 

There's not a lot of collaboration between the four attackers but they have a gap. 

The four lead the peloton by 30 seconds, with other riders in the middle trying to go across to the attack. 

The four attackers are Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands), Soraya Paladin (Italy),  Aude Biannic (France) and Romy Kasper (Germany). 

They're back on the Povoi climb.

 

Biannic is distanced on the climb. 

Their gap is 25 seconds as they reach the steeper final part of the climb. 

Wow!

Marianne Vos has been dropped. She seemed to be suffering in the heat earlier. 

The break of three have extended their lead to 50 seconds as the German and Netherlands ride on the front of the peloton to slow the chase.

There are just 30 or so riders left in the peloton.

Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands), Soraya Paladin (Italy) and Romy Kasper (Germany) lead by 55 seconds. The riders in the middle of the gap have been caught. 

Behind Riejanne Markus is leading the peloton. But rather than slowing the pace, she seems to be setting it, chasing the trio, that includes her teammate van Dijk.

With three laps of 13.2km to go, the trio lead by 45 seconds.

The big-name contenders are in the peloton ands hoping the gap will come down. 

As the Povo climb begins to kick-in once again, the Netherlands have three riders out front chasing the break that includes one of their own riders in Ellen van Dijk. 

It's a very generous ride by van Dijk if she's happy to play such a strategic game. 

Romy Kasper (Germany) has been dropped from the attack, leaving just Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands) and Soraya Paladin (Italy) up front. 

The Netherlands are the super team of women's cycling but can they really afford to chase their own rider and so tow up the rest of the peloton? 

32km to go

The Netherlands have stopped chasing after a talk between their riders. 

Is Annemiek van Vleuten also suffering in the heat? 

Have the Netherlands decided to give van Dijk the freedom to race for herself? 

We will find out very soon. 

 

Meanwhile, the gap is up to and over 1:00. 

Germany has taken up the chase after the Netherlands stopped working.

Back into the streets of Trento and Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands), Soraya Paladin (Italy) lead by 50 seconds. 

The work of Germany is starting to reduce their lead. Germany started to chase after Kasper was dropped from the attack.

Van Dijk attacks alone on the flat roads to the finish area.

They face two more laps and so to more climbs, so van Dijk's attack is unusual. 

Indeed, it doesn't work, with Paladin closing the gap. 

With two laps to go, the gap to the duo is 34 seconds. 

There are 35 riders in the peloton. 

The peloton is at 45 seconds, with Germany still chasing the two attackers. 

After such a quiet race by the big-name riders, something will surely happen on this climb of Povo or on the last lap.  

Van Dijk attacks alone. She powers on the pedals and has a gap. 

Soraya Paladin was clearly suffering and van Dijk has quickly opened a gap.

This changes a lot behind. Italy will now have to help the chase.

Van Dijk leads by 40 seconds. Perhaps the Netherlands have decided this is her day and are riding to protect her chances.

We spoke too soon. 

Liane Lippert attacks from the group, exploding the race. 

Amy Pieters is dropped but others are going across to Lippert. It's a quality group. 

Wow. 

Van Dijk's lead is already down to 15 seconds.  She will soon be swept up. 

Italy have 2 riders in the chase group: Longo Borghini and Cavalli.   

Annemiek van Vleuten and Demi Vollering are there for the Netherlands.

Katarzyna Niewiadoma is there for Poland but there are no Belgians in the move as Longo Borghini attacks.

There are 8 riders in the group behind van Dijk. 

Van Dijk is pushing on to try to help her two teammates in the group. They can sit on the wheels, forcing the others to chase. 

Van Dijk's gap is up to 35 seconds.

Van Dijk was second in the time trial this week and so could easily time trial to a superb solo victory. 

It would be well deserved after being out front for so long. 

Elisa longo Borghini is leading the chase, working for younger teammate Marta Cavalli. 

But she and the other riders in the group are losing time.  

12km to go

As the bell rings out to signal the final lap, van Dijk leads by 55 seconds.

Other riders are 1:40 down on van Dijk but there chances are gone.

Van Dijk is in TT mode as she climbs up to Povo for the last time. 

She has her hands on the brake levers, trying to stay aero but also maintain her power on the climb.  

Her gap is at 50 seconds. If she can hold at least 20 seconds of that, she could descent to the finish and win alone. 

10km to go

Longo Borghini has moved off  the front after giving her all. 

But there are no attacks. This is helping van Dijk massively. 

Here come the attacks. 

Lippert goes and Katarzyna Niewiadoma joins here.

Annemiek van Vleuten joins them as the top the climb. 

Annemiek van Vleuten will play a stopper role, defending van Dijk's lead.

The other four riders get back on two. 

Van Dijk leads by 20 seconds. Will it be enough? 

The descent is over. Van Dijk leads by 20 seconds. This will be very close.

Marlen Reusser of Switzerland made one attacks but has eased up.

Van Dijk leads by 35 seconds.

Van Dijk is in the centre of Trento. 

She's tired but on the way to victory. 

Behind they are riding for the silver and bronze medals. 

2km to go and van Dijk leads by a minute! 

She will soon be European champion. 

Van Dijk is smiling. 

Van Dijk is in the last kilometre. 

Van Dijk has  been on the attack for 55km. first with three other riders and then alone.  

Van Dijk waves her arms in celebration and wins the European title! 

She hugs her team staff and shakes her head, she can hardly believe she has won.

Here's the sprint for 2nd.

Lippert takes it. 

Lija Laizane takes third place. 

This is the top ten: 

1 Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands) 2:50:35
2 Liane Lippert (Germany) 0:01:18
3 Rasa Leleivyte (Lithuania) 0:01:18
4 Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Poland) 0:01:18
5 Demi Vollering (Netherlands) 0:01:18
6 Marta Cavalli (Italy) 0:01:18
7 Marlen Reusser (Switzerland) 0:01:18
8 Alena Amialiusik (Belarus) 0:01:18
9 Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) 0:01:21
10 Elisa Balsamo (Italy) 0:02:28 

Ellen van Dijk sustained a broken humerus and pelvis after a crash at the Boels Ladies Tour in 2019 but has fought back to recover and return to her high level. 

Van Dijk also overcame COVID-19 in the spring but again fought back.   

She was second in the Lotto Belgian Tour and more recently third at the Simac Ladies Tour.

She was second to Marlen Reusser in Friday's time trial but was clearly on form.

Van Dijk has often had to sacrifice her chances for her better climbing and faster finishing Dutch teammates but today was her chance and ultimately her day.

For our report, results and growing photo gallery, click below. 

Van Dijk solos to women's European Championship title

TRENTO ITALY SEPTEMBER 11 Ellen Van Dijk of Netherlands celebrates at finish line as race winner during the 27th UEC Road Cycling European Championships 2021 Elite Womens Road Race a 1072 km race from Trento to TrentoPiazza Duomo UECcycling on September 11 2021 in Trento Italy Photo by Justin SetterfieldGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The European Championships continue with the men's race on Sunday. 

We like the way van Dijk celebrated and was so happy.

Ellen van Dijk celebrates her European Championship win

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Soraya Paladin (Italy) was another hero of the day. She went on the attack with van Dijk and stayed with her and worked until a lap and a half to go. 

Soraya Paladin (Italy) suffered as she tried to stay with van Dijk out front

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Italy was unable to get a result after she was dropped. Elisa longo Borghini tried to chase van Dijk, then Marta Cavalli was sixth in the sprint. 

The Netherlands again dominate the race even if Marianne Vos suffered mid-race and was dropped. 

Ellen van Dijk with her Netherlands teammates before the start

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Annemiek van Vleuten did not appear at her best on the climb but was happy for van Dijk as she crossed the line.

Annemiek van Vleuten celebrated Ellen van Dijk's victory in Trento

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

This is Marianne Vos before the start. It will be interesting to understand what happened to her. 

Marianne Vos surprisingly suffered and was dropped mid-race

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

In Trento it was definitely Ellen Van Dijk's day. 

Ellen van Dijk

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Thanks for joining our full live coverage of the women's road race from Trento. 

We'll be back on Sunday for full coverage of the men's race as Remco Evenepoel, Tadej Pogacar, Sonny Colbrelli and other riders from 39 European countries fight it out for the covered white, blue and gold-starred European champion's jersey.

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