The ultimate team test: Boels-Dolmans wins Women’s WorldTour team time trial in Sweden
Ever since the inception of the Boels-Dolmans team in 2013, the team time trial has been a big focus of the team. Over the years, the team added lots of time trialists like Ellen van Dijk, Evelyn Stevens, Chantal Blaak and Karol-Ann Canuel, but a TTT victory eluded them for several seasons.
Three years of preparation for the discipline culminated in their first ever TTT win in the Energiewacht Tour, in April. Now they have their first Women’s WorldTour victory. After all the individual victories, Boels-Dolmans gets to celebrate a UCIWWT team victory today.
After their win earlier this year and their second place in the Amgen women’s Tour of California team time trial, it was no surprise that the orange squad would stand a good chance of winning this time trial. The four above-mentioned Boels-Dolmans riders were the four that crossed the line in the winning time, losing Lizzie Armitstead and Kasia Pawlowska somewhere along the way.
While the winner wasn’t much of a surprise, the runners up saw a significant shake-up when it was Cervélo-Bigla who beat out last year’s Vargarda TTT winners, Rabo-Liv, as well as the Canyon-SRAM squad. The latter didn’t even finish on the podium. Canyon-SRAM, as the progression of the Specialized-Lululemon and Velocio-SRAM teams, are four-time world champions in this discipline but today, came in 1’41” behind the winners for fourth place.
For Cervélo-Bigla the result wasn’t a surprise though, as they took this team time trial very seriously, arriving in Sweden well ahead of the event to optimize their performance.
“We have a major sponsor in Cervélo who makes the fastest bikes in the world and we have to commit on these high expectations. From Monday morning we trained on the course,” team manager Thomas Campana explained. “Unfortunately, we got the first starting spot of the day so we had to go all or nothing. It was important to put pressure at the first split with a good time and that worked well.”
“The girls were amazing,” Campana continued. “We lost Nicole [Hanselmann] after 7 kilometres and Lisa [Klein] had some problems, but she stayed until there were four girls left at the 25 kilometer mark so they did an amazing job. We are very happy to come from fourth last year to second this year so we are on the right trajectory. We want to be a leading TTT team and this is a good base to work on for next year.”
Last year’s winners Rabo-Liv ended up in third place. Time trialists Lucinda Brand and Thalita de Jong didn’t line up as they also won’t start in the worlds TTT. They will be focussing on their cross season by October.
With Anna van der Breggen, Marianne Vos, Shara Gillow, Roxane Knetemann, Anouska Koster and Moniek Tenniglo in today’s line-up, Rabo-Liv DS Koos Moerenhout predicted that “probably only one rider will change for the world TTT championships line-up.”
“This was a reasonable performance from the girls. Some rolled a little better than others, but overall the performance was acceptable. We were only seven seconds slower than in 2015 – although the weather was admittedly better this year. Still, I’m okay with the result.”
1. Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) – 886
2. Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) – 545
3. Leah Kirchmann (Liv-Plantur) – 554
4. Evelyn Stevens (Boels-Dolmans) – 519
5. Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5) – 509
Young rider classification
1. Kasia Niewiadoma (Rabo-Liv) – 30
2. Floortje Mackaij (Liv-Plantur) – 18
3. Jip van den Bos (Parkhotel Valkenburg) – 14
1. Boels-Dolmans – 2669
2. Wiggle-High5 – 1903
3. Rabo-Liv – 1696
Road race on Sunday
The Vårgårda road race follows this Sunday and starts with four laps on an 11 kilometer circuit, followed by a big loop with four gravel sections, followed by yet another four laps on the small circuit, adding up to 141 kilometers in total.
The riders take off at 8.15 a.m. CEST (2.15 a.m. EST, 4.15 p.m. AEST) to finish approximately three hours later
After La Course by le Tour de France and the Prudential RideLondon, Eurosport will also broadcast the Vårgårda road race in Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.
While the La Course and Prudential RideLondon broadcasts were delivered in connection with men’s WorldTour races, Vårgårda is Eurosport’s first direct investment in the Women’s WorldTour.
More information about the race can be found on the official website.
Based on today’s results, who do you think will win the world TTT championships in October?