Italy’s Marta Bastianelli won the Women’s European Championships Road Race 2018, out-sprinting former champion Marianne Vos (Netherlands) and Lisa Brennauer (Germany).
Vos had the benefit of a strong Dutch team, which included reigning Olympic champion Anna van der Breggen plus the powerhouse legs of Ellen vani Dijk and Lucinda Brand.
However, it was Bastianelli who was able to charge to the line first in a cagey sprint from a reduced bunch.
The flat-out, nine lap race covered 130 kilometres and was enlivened by multiple breaks – including a bold solo effort from Great Britain’s Sophie Wright, who accumulated three minutes, riding 80km alone.
Dani Rowe was GB’s best finisher, taking tenth overall despite being pulled back after bridging to a dangerous move from Van der Breggen and Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy).
How it happened
The early part of the race featured multiple failed breakaways, but eventually a quintet was able to form – featuring 19-year-old Wright, plus Lucinda Brand (Netherlands), Lisa Klein (Germany), Nadia Quagliotto (Italy), and Juliette Labous (France).
Wright put in an effort which proved she was the strongest of the escapees, and with 61 kilometres to go she had a minute on the trio behind.
The rest of the field was around three minutes back, at which point the peloton grew serious about pulling her back – with the Netherlands doing the lionshare of the work.
Come the 50km mark, the gap had sunk below two minutes, but not without decisive action from the peloton.
Once Wright’s valiantly gained advantage had been swept up, Alice Barnes (Great Britain) counter attacked on the ascent leaving Glasgow, and was followed by Chantal Blaak (Netherlands) and Elena Cecchini (Italy) – they managed to gain 24s coming into the penultimate lap.
Germany’s strong squad – which included the likes of track expert Mieke Kröger and long term fixture of the pro peloton, Trixi Worrack – led the chase, catching the trio with just over 20km left to go.
Once caught, Van der Breggen made her move, followed by Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy). On the climb from the city, Rowe attack the greatly reduced peloton to bridge to the escapees, forming what appeared to be a star studded breakaway – which had 40s on the bunch coming into the last lap.
With 11.5km left, Floortje Mackaij (Netherlands) and Aude Biannic (France) joined the break. However, the Netherlands continued to chase those out front – despite having two members within the selection.
With 8km to go, Van der Breggen put in an attack. Rowe, Mackaij and Biannic could not follow her, leaving just Longo Borghini to accompany the Olympic champion.
The pair made a cagey union, neither committing to work to the line, and at the 1km to go mark they were swallowed up by the remainder of the peloton.
Vos was tucked into a competitive line of Dutch riders, but Bastianelli made her move, reaching the finish flag ahead of the former champion, with Brennauer in third.
Rowe was able to hold on in the sprint, despite her earlier efforts, to take tenth – saying “I think if it had been a bit longer I’d have been alright, because I was coming with a lot of speed, but on the right handside, and [I] just got a bit boxed. But that’s bike racing and I’m happy with how I rode, and how the team rode.”
Wright, who is 19-years-old and won the European MTB XC Championships in 2016, was overcome by the crowds in Glasgow, commenting: “even riding up to the finish at the end, I got a bit emotional because it was kind of overpowering, everyone banging on the railings and cheering my name.”
Results: European Women’s Road Race, Glasgow (130 kilometres)
1 Marta Bastianelli (Italy) in 3-28-15
2 Marianne Vos (Netherlands)
3 Lisa Brennauer (Germany)
4 Elena Cecchini (Italy)
5 Rasa Leleivyte (Lithuania)
6 Christina Malling Siggaard (Denmark)
7 Kaat Hannes (Belgium)
8 Anna Van Der Breggen (Netherlands)
9 Lorena Wiebes (Netherlands)
10 Danielle Rowe (Great Britain), at same time