UCI Women Road World Cup, Vårgårda: The kilometre that changed everything
Jolien d’Hoore (Wiggle Honda) claimed victory on the penultimate round of the UCI Road Women World Cup today in Vårgårda. She got the better of team mate Giorgia Bronzini and Lisa Brennauer (Velocio SRAM) in a depleted bunch sprint.
D’Hoore’s win in Vårgårda moves the Belgian champion into first place of the UCI Women Road World Cup overall ranking. Anna van der Breggen (Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team) maintains her second place ahead of Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team), now third. It’s d’Hoore’s second World Cup victory after winning the first round Ronde van Drenthe earlier this year, and Wiggle Honda’s fourth.
Talented Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team) keeps her lead as best young rider.
The SufferPrize by the Sufferfest was awarded to Amanda Spratt (Orica AIS) for her tenacious attacks throughout the day.
Is there anything Wiggle Honda cannot win?
Three riders were fighting for the overall UCI Road World Cup classification today. The Boels Dolmans Cycling Team were on a mission to keep Lizzie Armitstead in the leader’s jersey. With Anna van der Breggen (Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team) in close second and Eliza Longo Borghini (Wiggle Honda) in third not far behind, the three teams would be watching each other very closely.
The first successful attack of the day was initiated by Elena Berlato (Ale Cipollini) 40 minutes into the 133.5 kilometre race. With a bunch not interested in chasing, her gap stretched to over 50-seconds before getting caught.
The first difficulty of the day came 48-kilometres into the race in the shape of a 2,5-kilometre gravel road section, reminiscent of the Strade Bianche. Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team) decided to ride this section from the front, stretching out the bunch, showing she meant serious business.
Berlato was caught as the bunch entered the 11-kilometre circuit they would have to tackle seven times.
Multiple attacks soon followed on this technical twisty circuit. Orica AIS were decided to make this a hard race for their protected rider, Emma Johansson.
With 6 laps to go Trixi Worrack (Velocio SRAM) attacked an already stretched out bunch. She was soon joined by Lucinda Brand (Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team) and Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team). The move was soon nullified by a fast peloton.
A determined Trixi Worrack (Velocio SRAM) attacked again one lap later, this time joined by Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team) and Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda). The move was caught again. This was going to be the pattern for the rest of the race.
After 2,5 hours of racing, Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team decided to put further pressure on an already depleted bunch. With Lucinda Brand driving the pace, will she force the elastic to finally snap?
The kilometre that changed everything
With only a few kilometres to go, the front group was down to about 20 riders.
On the final kilometre and as the teams were getting ready to launch their sprints, Jolien d’Hoore followed accelerations from one of today’s favourite Anna van der Breggen (Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team). Lizzie Armitstead was sitting in seventh position when she got caught behind an unfortunate crash 200-metre to the line, forcing her to lose momentum, the race and ultimately, her leader’s jersey.
Jolien d’Hoore jumped off van der Breggen’s wheel with 50-metres to go taking Bronzini in her stride to make it a Wiggle Honda 1-2. Lisa Brennauer (Velocio SRAM) rounded off the podium for third.
With only one race to go in the UCI Women Road World Cup, everything is still at play. Although Jolien d’Hoore, was not certain to start the final round in Plouay next week, she may well need to reconsider her schedule and ride to defend her leader’s jersey.
The last round of the UCI Women’s World Cup will take place next week in Brittany.
For UCI Women Road World Cup standings, visit http://www.uci.ch/