Marianne Vos (Rabo Women Team) made it three in a row with her victory Saturday in the Boels Rental Ronde van Drenthe, the opening round of the UCI Road Womenâs World Cup. The Dutch UCI World Road Champion and 2012 UCI World Cup winner finished ahead of her compatriot Ellen Van Dijk (Team Specialized- Lululemon) and Swedenâs Emma Johansson (Orica -AIS)
The day was marked by the cold and wet weather, while the wind chill factor took temperatures below zero for the entire race.
It was not until the first cobbled section that the peloton elongated, through necessity, on the fierce, wet stones. Soon afterwards though, the peloton regrouped. The riders with ambition all knew that the race can be won or lost on the later cobbles.
By the time the race reached the second cobbles, a small group at the front had formed. However, road sections between the section meant that there were changes in the numbers and constituents at the front between each. Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS)Â took a small group through the second section and by the third, Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) was riding solo with a small advantage.
The third section of cobbles, though, changed the nature of the race. Groups formed and created the selections for the day. After the final section, Rommy Kasper (Boels Dolmans) accelerated from the leading group and broke away. She went alone all the way to the climb at 93 kilometres (29km from the finish). She was caught just after the summit, thanks to a fierce acceleration at the front of the chasing group by Marianne Vos.
The front group stayed together through the first passage of the finish line and back to the âVAMâ climb (13km from the finish). This was where, almost as usual, Marianne Vos launched her attack which took her away alone. Emma Johansson was, for a few kilometres, her only chaser from the leaders, but then she was joined by Ellen van Dijk (Specialized-Lululemon). Van Dijk, who is enjoying good form at the moment, caught her breath then chased across to Vos.
The pair of Dutchwomen raced to the finish together, exchanging turns. It was clear, though, that Vos had the legs and she took a relatively easy sprint from van Dijk on the finish line at Hoogeveen.
âIt was really cold out there today. Of course it was great to win here again,â she said afterwards, before taking refuge in the warmth and dry of the small room at the side of the podium car.
Just like in 2012, Marianne Vos will now wear the UCI World Cup leaderâs jersey in the second round in Italy on March 24th at Trofeo Binda-Comune di Cittiglio.
Photo: Marianne Vos wins the opening event of the 2013 Road Women's World Cup (copyright: CJ Farquharson/CJFoto.com)