Boels-Dolmans had a solid start to the Boels Ladies Tour, with four riders who slotted into the top ten in the opening prologue on Tuesday afternoon. Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott) clocked the fastest time on the 4.3-kilometre circuit, that ran right through her home town. Her time proved five seconds faster than Ellen van Dijk (Team Sunweb) and 11 seconds faster than Lisa Brennauer (Canyon-SRAM). Anna van der Breggen finished just outside the podium in fourth place, 15 seconds down on Van Vleuten.
“The circuit was nice, going slightly uphill right after the start,” says Van der Breggen. “A short downhill followed, plus there were some technical corners. I like that much better than a time trial over straight roads.”
Being the last off the start ramp, Van der Breggen was supported by her teammates who cheered her on from the side.
“It was hot, but that was the least of my worries during my prologue,” Van der Breggen says. “Prologues are always so painful! The heat was most annoying during the warm-up on the Tacx.”
Amy Pieters had been the first Boels-Dolmans rider off the start ramp and when she crossed the line, she stopped the clock at 6:06, 18 seconds slower than Van Vleuten. it was the third fastest time behind Van Vleuten and Brennauer at that time. Eventually she finished sixth. She will start in the red combativity jersey tomorrow.
Defending Boels Ladies Tour winner Chantal Blaak rode towards the same time as Pieters, but was classified one spot behind her on hundreds of seconds. She eventually finished in seventh place.
The fourth Boels-Dolmans rider in the top was British road champion Lizzie Deignan, who set a time of 6:07 and ended up in ninth place. Luxembourg time trial champion Christine Majerus finished twelfth, 25 seconds down on Van Vleuten. World road champion Amalie Dideriksen managed to finish 39 seconds slower.
With all riders within 40 seconds of the first leader this Ladies Tour, anything is still possible. The weather forecast predicts rough weather for tomorrow, so Van der Breggen doesn’t yet know what to expect of the stage.
“It could turn out to be an interesting stage with the weather predictions,” Van der Breggen says. “The stage will probabiy finish in a sprint, so we will focus on our sprinters, but we’ll have to see how the stage unfolds.”