Amalie Dideriksen sprinted to second in Steinfort on stage one of the Elsy Jacobs Festival to secure her first UCI stage podium of the season. The Danish champion expected to work in the finish for Christine Majerus but the weather necessitated a change in plans.
“We normally would have done the sprint for Christine,” said Dideriksen. “She’s good at these kind of sprints, and the race is in her country and everything. But the weather turned very, very wet and cold suddenly, and Christine said she was too cold to do a good sprint. Without Christine for the sprint, I had an opportunity to take a chance.”
The race was animated and aggressive with several dangerous breakaways escaping the stronghold of the peloton. Carmen Small (Cervélo Bigla) and Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle High5) established an advantage over the bunch on the first of five local laps, gaining a maximum gap of 1:40 with 33-kilometres still to race.
“We left the chase to ORICA and Rabo,” explained Dideriksen. “We hoped they would do the chase work. They were better placed in the overall, and they had more to lose than we did.”
Just inside the final three kilometres, the peloton overtook Bronzini and Small. Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5), Ashleigh Moolman (Cervélo Bigla) and Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) countered the catch.
Their dangerous attempt was short-lived, and the peloton was together before the final kilometre, readying for the bunch sprint.
“When Christine said she wasn’t going to sprint, I hadn’t really even thought about doing it myself, but in the end, we were changing plans, and I had to do it,” Dideriksen explained. “I got boxed in and found a way out. I’m definitely happy I could get second.”
With two stages down, one still to come, Dideriksen jumps up to 11th overall, second in the best young rider classification to Thalia de Jong (Rabo-Liv). Ellen van Dijk, who finished on bunch time, remains the best-placed rider for Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team on the general classification in fourth place, 6 seconds behind race leader Lotta Lepistö.