Jolien d’Hoore sprints to victory at Ronde van Drenthe
Jolien d’Hoore (Wiggle Honda) sprinted to victory at Ronde van Drenthe, coming off teammate Chloe Hosking’s wheel with the finish line in sight. The Belgian national road champion had a full bike length on Amy Pieters (Liv-Plantur) in second place. Ellen van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans) rounded out the podium in Hoogeveen.
“The final was quite hectic. We were a little group, but a few kilometres before the finish it all came back together,” said d’Hoore. “I felt really, really good. I was very sure about my sprint. The team did an amazing job with the lead-out.”
It’s the first World Cup victory for d’Hoore, who notched her biggest result to date on her 25th birthday. It has been a hugely successful week for Wiggle Honda with d’Hoore’s win at Omloop van het Hageland last Sunday and Giorgia Bronzini’s win at Drentse 8 on Thursday coming ahead of d’Hoore’s victory at the opening round of the ten-race women’s World Cup series.
Cobbles, crashes and the short but crushingly steep VAMberg caused splits in the bunch. At the start of the final lap of 7.6km, four riders had an advantage on 12 chasers. Tiffany Cromwell (Velocio-SRAM), Roxane Knetemann (Rabo Liv), Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle Honda) all had teammates in the group behind and none seemed willing or allowed to back themselves. With cooperation amongst the four waning, the 12-strong chase group, which included d’Hoore, bridged the distance to the leaders.
A lull in pace at the front gave the second chase group, led by Alé Cipollini, an opportunity to merge with the first group on the road. An on-form Anna van der Breggen (Rabo Liv), Kirsten Wild (Hitec), who had punctured out of the leading group one lap earlier, and Bronzini were amongst the noteable names in the second group. As the group of around 40 riders readied for a bunch sprint, Wiggle Honda was missing only one of its six starters – Emilia Fahlin, who had crashed out of the race with quite a bit of road rash and injuries to her ribs.
The British-registered team delivered d’Hoore perfectly positioned to unleash her sprint. Audrey Cordon kept the speed high into the two kilometre mark. Longo Borghini assumed pace-setting responsibilities into the flamme route. The Italian brought Hosking into the penultimate corner.
Hosking’s pace was so high coming into the finish that she and d’Hoore had a slight gap at the 150 metre mark when d’Hoore sprinted off Hosking’s wheel. No one could challenge d’Hoore once she opened her sprint.
Note: The crash that took out Fahlin claimed several additional victims. Strade Bianche winner Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) crashed into a ditch (as seen in the video above) and sustained serious injuries. Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans), Claudia Lichtenberg (Liv Plantur) and Lotto Lepisto (Bigla) were also involved.
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