Danish road champion Amalie Dideriksen has won the third stage of the Boels Ladies Tour on Thursday. In a bunch sprint that was disrupted by a hard crash, Dideriksen outsprinted Lorena Wiebes (Parkhotel Valkenburg) and Jolien D'Hoore (Mitchelton-Scott). Amy Pieters sprinted to fifth.
"In the beginning we didn't know if there would be some crosswind sections," said Dideriksen. "But there weren't any ideal places for it, so we were almost sure the stage would end in a bunch sprint."
"But I still covered a lot of attacks because we thought there was also a chance they would let a group stay away today. It took quite a long time before a break went and we had Chantal [Blaak] in it. And in the final sprint, they did a really good lead-out and I'm really happy I could finish it off."
The Boels Ladies Tour has been anything but straightforward so far. Dideriksen herself has been in on the action in stage two, when she bridged across to Rosella Ratto (Cylance) who had gotten off the front. She spent over 30 kilometers in the break, but the two were reeled back in before the finish.
"I think everyone could feel yesterday's stage," told Dideriksen. "Mid-race, I talked a bit with Amy [Pieters] about who should do the sprint, and none of us felt really super, but Amy said she believed it was a good finish for me. So from there I tried to save energy, and the closer we came to the line the more I got in my sprint zone."
Meanwhile on the stage, a breakaway of race favourites had formed. World road champion Chantal Blaak was in there, along with riders like Hannah Barnes (Canyon-SRAM), Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) and Gracie Elvin (Mitchelton-Scott), teammate of GC leader Annemiek van Vleuten. Only in the last kilometers did the peloton catch all the escapees and prepared for a bunch sprint.
A crash disorganised the sprint, but Dideriksen kept her cool and crossed the line first. Boels-Dolmans hopes that everyone involved in the crash is okay.
"The girls did a really good lead-out," said Dideriksen. "With Chantal still in the break, I stayed with the other girls near the front. I was behind Anna [van der Breggen] and Amy and had Megan [Guarnier] to cover my side from the wind."
"In the real final, Megan covered me in the beginning, then Anna pulled and finally Amy, and I just had to sprint. It was a tricky final so it's really nice work of the whole team today. I was happy that we could take this team win."
Van Vleuten still leads the GC, Anna van der Breggen currently sits sixth at 33 seconds while Amy Pieters stands ninth at 37 seconds from Van Vleuten.