Lorena Wiebes once again proved she is the preeminent sprinter in the women’s peloton, winning stage one of the Boels Ladies Tour on Wednesday. After a hectic final, the Dutch champion emerged from the pack to take the sprint win ahead of compatriot Kirsten Wild (WNT-Rotor) and young Italian Letizia Paternoster (Trek-Segafredo).
Wiebes has been outstanding this year, steadily progressing throughout the season until she is now virtually unbeatable on flat courses. In the spring she won all three stages at the Tour of Chongming Island, and even beat Marianne Vos to win the national championships in June.
On Wednesday in the Netherlands though she beat some of the world’s best and is now a danger in any sprint finish she makes it to.
In the recent Ladies Tour of Norway she showed her abilities to get over she climbs, and some now have the 20 year-old as a favourite for the World Championships, though the race would have to unfold in her favour for her to take the title in Harrogate.
How it happened
Setting out from the small town of Stramproy and heading to Weert, south-east of Eindhoven, the opening 80km of the race lacked action, though some early crosswinds briefly split the bunch into three parts.
With the race spread across the flat countryside, the rear group were caught at a level crossing, only resuming the chase when their deficit was out to 1.55km. Crashes caused some issues too, with six of the 100 starters abandoning.
The most notable tumble was that of overall leader Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott), who fell twice in close succession around half way through the 123km stage. Though was up and racing both times ripped shorts bore testament to her ill fortune.
The race closed with three 8.9 laps of a circuit around the finish town of Weert, and it was just before the first pass of the finish line that South African champion, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (CCC-Liv) escaped off the front.
She had established a lead of around 45 seconds on the tight and technical circuit, when Brit Lizzie Deignan made a move to reach her. Deignan closed her down quickly, but allowing her Trek-Segafredo team mates in the bunch behind to take it easy, protecting Paternoster.
However, with Deignan closing the South African down quickly, the other sprinter’s teams began to up the pace and she was caught, with Moolman-Pasio still just 10 seconds ahead, though she too was soon swallowed up.
Boels Ladies Tour, stage one: Stramproy – Weert (123km)
1. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg in 2-59-02
2. Kirsten Wild (Ned) WNT Rotor
3. Letizia Paternoster (Ita) Trek Segafredo
4. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels-Dolmans
5. Chiara Consonni (Ita) Valcar Cylance
6. Barbara Guraishi (Ita) Virtu
7. Roxanne Fournier (Fra) Movistar
8. Lonneke Uneken (Ned) Hitec Products Birk Sport
9. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Sunweb
10. Lisa Klein (Ger) Canyon-SRAM all at same time
General classification after stage one
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott in 3-04-06
2. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) Parkhotel-Valkenburg at 03 sec
3. Letizia Paternoster (Ita) at 04 sec
4. Lisa Klein (Ger) Canyon-SRAM at 06 sec
5. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Sunweb at 07 sec
6. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) WNT-Rotor at 09 sec
7. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Boels-Dolmans at same time
8. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb at 10 sec
9. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans at 11 sec
10. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels-Dolmans at same time