This day belongs to one woman, Annemiek van Vleuten.
To be able to ride away from a peloton with 100km to go and stay away without any form of danger takes some exceptional amount of ability and performance on the bike. It does however raise questions about the chasing peloton.
The Dutch had the strongest riders in the race, that’s without doubt. It’s difficult for any chasing group to organise themselves and work together when the strongest rider in the field has gone solo and the second strongest rider is in the chase group. Strong tactics which saw Annemiek’s compatriot Anna van der Breggen finish second and three Dutch riders finishing in the top ten.
The Lofthouse climb seemed to blow the peloton to pieces with British rider Lizzie Deignan looking the most comfortable on home roads. She quickly lost all of her support riders as Hannah Barnes wasn’t able to keep pace and faded quickly. After van Vleuten had gone, the chasing group couldn’t organise themselves and make it work to give them any sort of a chance of a catch. Why would they, van der Breggen was there and refusing to work for the group.
The dream for Diegnan came to an end, after what has been a very impressive return to the road after the birth of Orla, her daughter. I said that if Lizzie had of won the Rainbow Jersey today that it would possibly have been one of the most significant in the women’s Peloton. Not because Lizzie had won, but because of a successful return to sport after having a baby.
However, it still marks a very successful return, Lizzie didn’t have to win today. The romance of the World Championships being on roads minutes from her front door made everyone wish and dream. She can be immensely proud of herself no matter what jersey she would have took home tonight, Orla would still look at her in the same way, her mum.
Another huge performance from Chloe Dygert saw the young American finish in fourth place. After winning the world ITT, Chloe dug deep to try and get on the podium but it wasn’t to be. It did show that there will be a dominant force in the women’s peloton for a few more years to come.
With one more road race left, we’ve been treated to so many different styles of races and many different ways to win. We’re set for an explosive finish in Harrogate tomorrow.
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