Apart from the GC leader, the individual time trial of Boels Ladies Tour stage six overthrew the general classification. Anna van der Breggen time trialled her way to third place on the stage, also moving her up to third place overall. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) won the stage and the race, while Ellen van Dijk (Team Sunweb) finished second.
“We finished a really nice stage race and we really had a nice week with the team,” said Van der Breggen. “We had three victories, which is of course really cool.”
Van der Breggen returned to racing in the 2018 Boels Ladies Tour after an altitude camp in preparation for the World Championships later this month in Innsbruck, Austria. Her main objective beforehand was to get the hang of racing again.
In the opening prologue, Van der Breggen showed she had come back from training camp in top shape, finishing second at seven seconds from Van Vleuten, who won both the prologue and the second stage. With Van Vleuten’s stage six victory, she won half the stages of this Boels Ladies Tour.
The other three stages were won by the Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team. Amalie Dideriksen crossed the line first in the two bunch sprint finishes of stages three and four, after teammates Chantal Blaak and Amy Pieters had shown strong performances in breakaways.
All of the stage wins were true team efforts. As Blaak soloed her way to the finish line on her last day in the rainbow stripes in yesterday’s Queen stage, Dideriksen neutralised all the attacks from the chase group, while Megan Guarnier, Van der Breggen and Pieters controlled the bunch.
For Guarnier, the 2018 Boels Ladies Tour was her last race with Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team as she announced her retirement from cycling earlier this week. The Worlds road race will be her last race.
“It was a special week because it was Megan’s last race,” confirmed Van der Breggen. “It’s kind of weird to race with somebody who is racing her last race.”
Going into today’s last stage, Van Vleuten was firmly in the lead. As the world ITT champion, everyone knew she was hard to beat. But with Van der Breggen and Pieters in sixth and seventh place overall, the podium was still a possibility.
As Van der Breggen crossed the line, she set the new fastest time at 24’32”, but Van Dijk soon beat that time by ten seconds. Van Vleuten eventually won the individual time trial with a time of 24’00”, winning the stage and the general classification.
Ultimately moving up to third place to finish on the podium of the 2018 Boels Ladies Tour, Van der Breggen looks back on a good week with the team. Luxembourg champion Christine Majerus unfortunately had to abandon the race on Tuesday due to illness, but Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team nonetheless won the team classification.
“We had a really fun week and a really nice team to do it together,” concluded Van der Breggen. “With three stage wins, we tried to win every day, so it was a cool race for us.”