Amy Pieters has won the Grand Prix de Plouay on Saturday 25 August by outsprinting an elite group that emerged in the final of round 21 of the Women’s WorldTour. This victory is Pieters’ third Women’s WorldTour win of the year, along with the Ronde van Drenthe and third stage of the Emakumeen Bira.
“We made it a hard race and we did it!” exclaimed Pieters. “We were just with a small team, but we were all really strong.”
Initially, a six-rider team was supposed to line-up in France, but illness kept world road champion Chantal Blaak and Anna Plichta from racing. The four riders left to battle it out on the undulating roads of Plouay were Pieters, Megan Guarnier, Karol-Ann Canuel and Skylar Schneider. Guarnier and Canuel both previously finished fifth in the race.
“Megan was really strong in the race,” said Pieters. “We all said to each other beforehand: we just háve to win this race!"
Known for its spectacular finals, the Grand Prix de Plouay was once again decided by a sprint among a group of favourites. The short climbs make this a very hard race and only the strongest survive. Guarnier and Pieters were part of a small group that also included Women’s WorldTour leader Marianne Vos (Waowdeals), Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb), Ashleigh Moolman (Cervélo-Bigla) and several Canyon-SRAM riders.
"It was just Megan and I at that point, so we had to try things, couldn't start saving energy already. We tried to help each other as best as we could - until we realised the race was going to end in a sprint."
A late attack by Sorayah Paladin (Alé Cipollini) was neutralised after which Vos opened the sprint. She came close, but Rivera and Pieters emerged from the back, Pieters eventually pushing her wheel in front of Vos’ before the finish line.
"I have to thank Megan a lot," said Pieters. "Because she attacked multiple times in the final. I tried to recover as much as I could. I was able to hang on and eventually won in the sprint.”
Asked by the post-race interviewer how the Dutch manage to be so dominant in women’s cycling, Pieters had an easy explanation. “The competition is really high, because we all want to go to Worlds,” she said. “There are so many girls that can race really well, so push each other’s level up. That’s why the level of racing in the Netherlands is so high.”
Worlds is coming up soon, but we have one more race to do before then! The Boels Ladies Tour is on the program next week, a very important race for the team for obvious reasons. Our line-up will be revealed soon.