Amy Pieters out-sprints Marianne Vos to take GP Plouay honours
Boels-Dolmans rider ends win drought for Dutch team
Sprinting ahead of her compatriot, Amy Pieters ended Marianne Vos’s run of Women’s WorldTour victories, winning the GP Plouay on Saturday afternoon. The Boels-Dolmans rider was the strongest in the final, opening sufficient gap to celebrate across as she crossed the line, with Vos (Waowdeals) in second and US champion Coryn Rivera (Sunweb) third.
Pieters's third top level win of the season came from a group of 15 riders which formed following he fifth and final ascent of the races’s signature climb Ty Marec, with around six of the 125.5km remaining.
While a large group came to the bottom, a series of strong, aggressive attacks thinned the bunch, forcing a now isolated Vos to close some of the ensuing gaps, one of which was created by Pieters’s team mate, American Megan Guarnier.
How it happened
The race consisted of four 27.7km loops, the first of which was relatively dramatic, with punctures and large crash causing splits in the bunch. One of those affected was Vos, and when she regained contact with the peloton the race entered a period of unusual calm, the bunch happy to stay together until half way round the second lap, with 82km left to race.
Only then did three riders from the AromItalia Vaiano team attack on one of the short climbs which characterise the route, and while they were almost instantly brought back, Katia Ragusa (BePink) then went clear, soon building a lead of 30 seconds.
However, as the 21 year-old Italian reached the short sharp climb of Ty Marec, her advantage halved, and she was caught a few kilometres later, as the bunch crossed the line for the second of five times.
On the next lap, as the bunch neared the same place a further group attempted to extricate themselves from the peloton, but were once again unsuccessful, with Vos’s Waoawdeals outfit apparently intent on keeping the race together.
Only with less than 40km to did Hannah Nilsson of BTC City Ljubljana manage to gain any sort of a lead, though again 30 seconds was all she was able to muster, before once again the gap was closed, and she was caught before the penultimate ascent of Ty Marec, after which the race finally came to life.
Just over one kilometre long, the climb opened with a bunch tinning chicane, after which it is steep and narrow, before levelling out, but dragging on for much of its length. The penultimate ascent brought a series of attacks, and a group of only 15 riders emerged to begin a final, smaller lap of 14.7km.
While a number of riders regained contact with the leaders on that circuit, the final group of 50 were conclusively shredded on that final climb.
Though Pieters's team won the recent team time trial in Sweden, the Boels-Dolmans rider’s success also ended a remarkably barren period for Boels-Dolmans, who have not won a top level road race since stage four of the Ovo Energy Women’s Tour in June.
Coming on Tuesday, the next race of the UCI Women’s WorldTour is the Boels Ladies Tour of Holland and Saturday’s success will boost the their confidence going into one team’s most of important events.
Grand Prix Plouay Agglomération Lorient Trophée WNT (125.5km)
1. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels-Dolmans in 3-17-18
2. Mariane Vos (Ned) Waowdeals
3. Coryn Rivera (USA) Sunweb
4. Elena Cecchini (Ita) Canyon SRAM
5. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton Scott
6. Alison Jackson (Can) Team Tibco Silicon Valley Bank
7. Małgorzata Jasinska (Pol) Movistar
8. Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (RSA) Cervélo-Bigla
9. Eugenia Bujak (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana
10. Kasia Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon SRAM, all at same time
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Owen Rogers is an experienced journalist, covering professional cycling and specialising in women's road racing. He has followed races such as the Women's Tour and Giro d'Italia Donne, live-tweeting from Women's WorldTour events as well as providing race reports, interviews, analysis and news stories. He has also worked for race teams, to provide post race reports and communications.