Anna van der Breggen time trialled to fourth place in Roosendaal on Wednesday in the third stage of the Boels Ladies Tour. The Olympic champion had started the day in fourth place overall and retained that position with her time of 22:44, 31 seconds behind winner Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott), who extended her lead in the overall. Boels-Dolmans put two riders in the top ten, Chantal Blaak riding towards place eight. She jumped up to seventh overall with that result.
“The time trial circuit flat, except for two flyovers,” said Van der Breggen. “I mostly just suffered for the 20-somewhat minutes I was out on the road. But if you don’t suffer, you didn’t do a good time trial.”
Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team had had a turbulent night preceding the third stage, with British road champion Lizzie Deignan being diagnosed with appendicitis and brought to the hospital overnight to have her appendix removed. She was placed tenth overall in the Boels Ladies Tour after stage two, but the team continued their home race with only five riders, while Deignan recovers from surgery.
“We were happy to hear that Lizzie’s surgery had gone well,” Van der Breggen said. “Of course it’s sad that she can’t continue the race with us, but her health is much more important.”
Belgian ITT champion Ann-Sophie Duyck (Belgian national team) was the first to break the 23-minute barrier with a time of 22:50. But she was soon bested by Mieke Kröger (Canyon-SRAM) and later Linda Villumsen (VéloConcept). Villumsen still owned the quickest time when the last three Boels-Dolmans riders took to the start, of which Blaak was the first.
When the Dutch road champion crossed the line, she posted the fourth quickest time, behind Villumsen, Kröger and Duyck. Van der Breggen rolled off the start ramp four minutes later and when she had finished, she came five seconds short of beating Villumsen’s time.
European time trial champion Ellen van Dijk (Team Sunweb), Lisa Brennauer (Canyon-SRAM) and race leader Van Vleuten were still to finish after Van der Breggen had set her time. Van Dijk stopped the clock almost half a minute earlier than Villumsen and Van Vleuten beat that time by four more seconds. She took the stage win, her second this tour, and extended her lead in the GC.
The top four in the GC remains unchanged, with Van Vleuten ahead of Van Dijk and Brennauer, and Van der Breggen in fourth place. There are three road races left to race in the Boels Ladies Tour with a tricky weekend to finish off the six-day stage race. The tactics are yet to be determined.
“Since our DS hasn’t did an all-nighter with Lizzie’s appendicitis, we haven’t had time to discuss further plans yet,” Van der Breggen said. “We’re just happy Lizzie is doing well and we will see what tomorrow brings.”