Van den Broek-Blaak takes the Simac Ladies Tour GC as Marianne Vos wins second consecutive stage

Sprinters’ teams make no mistake as the final stage ends in a bunch kick with British champion Alice Barnes second

Chantal van den Brek-Blaak (SDWorx) winner of the 2021 Simac Ladies Tour
(Image credit: Bas Czerwinski)

Chantal van den Broek-Blaak won her home stage race after a controlled performance from her SDWorx team in Arnhem on Sunday. The former world champion finished three seconds behind stage winner Marianne Vos after the final stage finished in a bunch kick.

The stage was Vos’s third success of the race after she won the opening prologue and Saturday’s queen stage. A consummate example of positioning, the Jumbo-Visma rider was in third wheel as Amalie Dideriksen (Trek-Segafredo) led round the final corner.

The Danish champion kicked hard but was unable to hang on, and Vos came over the top to take the stage, with British champion Alice Barnes (Canyon-SRAM), her white jersey muddied by the drenched roads, second. Van den Broek-Blaak’s SDWorx team-mate, Amy Pieters, was third.

The week was defined by crashes and poor weather making for an attritional race where only 53 women finished after 91 took the to the start at last Tuesday’s prologue.

With Barnes taking second on the stage, top Brit on GC was 20-year-old Pfeiffer Georgi. The DSM rider won the young rider classification, while finishing sixth overall, 1-20 down. 

It was an excellent performance from Georgi who put in an excellent time trial on stage two before surviving the carnage of stage three, after which she was both attentive and aggressive in the closing stages.

How it happened

The final stage of this year’s Simac Ladies Tour visited Arnhem, another regular race start or finish for the event and this year it hosted both, with 149.4km race taking on 19 lumpy circuits of eight kilometres.

Each of those laps included a small climb which, considering the repetitive nature of the route was certain to cause some issues to a peloton tired and reduced to only 58 riders after Saturday’s wet, windy and aggressive stage.

Former world champion Chantal van den Broek-Blaak began the day with a general classification lead of 20 seconds on Marlen Reusser (Alé-BTC Ljubljana), and with the parcours perfectly suiting the SDWorx rider’s profile, she hoped to hang on and win her home race.

The early kilometres were enlivened by the battle for the climber’s jersey, with Saturday’s solo breakaway rider, Anouska Koster (Jumbo-Visma) overhauling Alison Jackson (Liv Racing) who won opening road stage from the breakaway.

While Koster continued to consolidate her lead, with 112km remaining Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) attacked the bunch and got away. Though the Polish rider was second on Saturday’s stage, beginning the day 3-46 behind the lead she was no great threat but was brought back 10km later. 

Koster’s work on the climb assured she would win the climber’s jersey, and as the rain fell again the race settled and a breakaway finally escaped with only 60km to go.

Trixi Worrack (Trek-Segafredo), Nina Buysman (Parkhotel Valkenburg), Teuntje Beekhuis (Jumbo-Visma), Ella Harris (Canyon-SRAM) and Teniel Campbell (BikeExchange) quickly got a gap of two minutes on the bunch, though not before they were joined by Jeanne Korevaar (Liv Racing).

Of the leaders Korevaar was the biggest threat, having started the day in ninth overall, only 2-30 behind the leader, and it was Van den Broek-Blaak’s SDWorx team who came to the front to defend.

And defend they did, bringing the gap down to below one minute as they race entered the final 40km, though with the GC safe the team disappeared, leaving other teams to hold the gap within touching distance.

Looking for a sprint win after a series of second places DSM duly obliged, their Canadian rider Leah Kirchmann doing much of the work. Twenty kilometres from the line a series of accelerations in the leading group saw it fracture, and then, with 20km left Janneke Ensing attacked in an attempt to bridge to the four remaining escapees.

After catching the break, Ensing took a few seconds rest before attacking them and instantly getting a gap, with an aggressive bunch still 30 seconds behind with 14km to go. She was soon joined by Korevaar, but they were unable to stay away as the original break, bolstered by new arrivals consumed them.

Ensing and Korevaar were now in a leading group with Harris, Beekhuis and new arrivals Mischa Bredewold (Parkhotel Valkenburg), Eugénie Duval (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) and Silke Smulders (Lotto-Soudal), with their lead at 30 seconds onto the final, 8km lap.

With five kilometres to go Smulders, Bredewold and Duval attacked the break, but the peloton was bearing down through the Dutch gloom and the race was set for a sprint from what was left of the bunch.

With the peloton together three kilometres out Ellen van Dijk led, working for Trek-Segafredo team-mate Amalie Dideriksen, dropping her off in the final corner.

The race was notable for the disqualification of breakaway rider Nina Buysman. In the closing stages the Parkhotel Valkenburg rider rode off the front of the breakaway and took a bike change. 

While taking a bike waiting for the rider at the side of the road is permitted in a criterium, it is not in a road race, and the young Dutch rider was approached by the commissaires, pulling over shortly after, the organisers confirming the disqualification shortly after. 

The Women’s WorldTour continues apace with GP Plouay tomorrow, while the four-day Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta starts on Thursday, finishing in Santiago de Compostela ahead of the men’s final stage on Sunday.

Result Simac Ladies Tour , stage five: Arnhem - Arnhem (149.4km)

1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in 3-55-58
2. Alice Barnes (Gbr) Canyon-SRAM, at same time
3. Amy Pieters (Ned) SDWorx
4. Amalie Dideriksen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
5. Alison Jackson (Can) Liv Racing 
6. Pfeiffer Georg (Gbr) DSM
7. Alicia González (Esp) Movistar
8. Marlen Reusser (Sui) Alé-BTC Ljubljana
9. Clara Copponi (Fra) FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope all at same time 
10. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 3 seconds

Final general classification 

1. Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (Ned) SDWorx 14-46-39
2. Marlen Reusser (Sui) Alé-BTC Ljubljana at 17s
3. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 30s
4. Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 51s
5. Demi Vollering (Ned) SDworx 1-06
6. Pfeiffer Georgi (Gbr) DSM at 1-20
7. Amy Pieters (Ned) SDWorx at 1-35
8. Alison Jackson (Can) Liv Racing at 2-05
9. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Alé-BTC Ljubljana at 2-39 
10. Jeanne Korevaar (Ned) Liv Racing) at 2-49