World champion Amalie Dideriksen backed up her Ronde van Drenthe win with a third place finish at Drentse Acht van Westerveld on Sunday. The Dane was part of a 30-strong peloton that survived the attacking, wind-swept race to contest the finish in Dwingeloo. Chloe Hosking (Alé Cipollini) took the win ahead of Lotte Kopecky (Lotto Soudal Ladies).
“I didn’t do the sprint quite as I had hoped to do it, but I’m happy to be on the podium,” said Dideriksen. “It’s been a great weekend for Boels-Dolmans even if my race today wasn’t super.”
The 143-kilometre race was aggressive from the start with splits in the peloton happening the moment neutral gave way to proper racing.
“It was calm in neutral but as soon as the car left, people started riding really, really hard,” said Dideriksen. “We didn’t expect the peloton to split so early. It was hard and hectic like that all race.”
Before the first of two ascents of the VAMberg, Dideriksen unexpectedly found herself in the second group, around 45-seconds behind the leaders.
“It was really confusing,” said Dideriksen. “It came together and split and came together and split and came together. It was a bit hard to tell what was happening and exactly where I was in relation to all the others.”
Although the front selection broke apart further over the VAMberg, the race eventually re-gouped. Seventy riders headed toward the first passage of the finish line for three times around the six kilometre circuit.
“We had talked before the race about having me do the sprint,” explained Dideriksen. “Because I was dropped in the beginning, I wasn’t feeling so confident, so we came together before the finish to talk about it again.
“Amy [Pieters] was looking really good, and I thought maybe we should sprint for her instead,” Dideriksen added. “She said that was should stick to the plan and still sprint for me. That’s what we did.”
ORICA-SCOTT launched non-stop attacks in the finale. Boels-Dolmans responded to each and every move.
“There were a lot of attacks in the final, and the team had to work really hard to cover them,” said Dideriksen. “I tried to save energy for the sprint.”
Five kilometres from the finish, Chantal Blaak marked a move by Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb). The duo gained a small gap over the bunch, which had been reduced to around 30 riders by the last lap.
“It’s always safer to be away than stick to the bunch,” said Dideriksen. “That was our idea with covering attacks and working any moves.”
The break was short-lived. Blaak and Brand rejoined the bunch as the sprinters geared up for a fast finale.
“I never really opened my sprint properly,” noted Dideriksen. “It was really hectic, and I had trouble positioning myself in the right place. I chose to be on the left side and maybe it was better to be on the right.
“In the end, I almost hit a fence trying to defend my position,” she added. “And I couldn’t put all my power into it.”
A missed opportunity? Maybe. But she still managed third place.
“I think we also showed again how strong we are as a team,” said Dideriksen. “We have come together really well, and the new riders have meshed in with the rest. We have a lot we can build on for the next races.”