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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.  

They're off! 

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.   

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

100km to go

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. 

90km to go

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

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

Attack! 

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

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.

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. 

Eugénie Duval is the French rider out front. 

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

60km to go

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). 

Biannic is distanced on the climb. 

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

Wow!

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

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

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. 

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

Wow. 

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. 

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

12km to go

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. 

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

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. 

The other four riders get back on two. 

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. 

Behind they are riding for the silver and bronze medals. 

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

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: 

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.

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