Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) took victory in the last Women’s WorldTour race of the season, winning from a small group after a long and aggressive race.
The re-scheduled Ronde van Drenthe covered 159.1 km from Assen to Hoogeveen. The mostly pan-flat terrain of the northern Netherlands was punctuated by a few cobbled sectors and four ascents of the VAM-berg, the last coming 15 km before the flat finish.
The early break of Lieke Nooijen (Parkhotel Valkenberg) and Janneke Ensing (BikeExchange) – the latter racing on home roads for the last time before retirement – led the field over the cobbled sectors in the first half of the race before being brought back at around the halfway mark.
Attackers Kirstie van Haaften (Parkhotel Valkenberg) and Margaux Vigie (Valcar-Travel & Service) carried a small lead onto the first ascent of the VAM-berg, but the pair were neutralised by the top of the climb as the race began to heat up.
Attacks persisted in the last 60 km as the non-sprinters and smaller teams attempted to avoid the traditional bunch sprint. The British pairing of newly crowned national champion Pfeiffer Georgi (Team DSM) and Alice Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) established a 25-second gap on the way to the second VAM-berg circuit. Their advantage yo-yoed ahead of the strung out peloton until they reached the foot of the infamous man-made climb for the final ascent.
A trio of attackers – Elena Cecchini (SD Worx), Elise Chabbey (Canyon-SRAM) and Floortje Mackaij (Team DSM) – earned a gap over the last climb and they were joined for the last 10 km by a dangerous four-rider chase group that was stacked with Team DSM riders, including Wiebes.
The DSM riders drove the pace into the closing kilometres, keeping what was left of the peloton at bay and perfectly setting up their sprinter. Wiebes won with a few bike lengths to spare, with Cecchini in second and Eleanora Gasparrini (Valcar-Travel & Service) crossing the line in third. Suzanne Andersen led the bunch home 1:15 later, the fifth DSM rider to finish in the top 10.
UCI Women's WorldTour Ronde van Drenthe (1.WWT) Assen → Hoogeveen