March 14, 2015 (The Netherlands) – Birthday girl Jolien D’Hoore (Wiggle Honda) won the bunch sprint to take victory in the 2015 Boels Rental Ronde van Drenthe in the Netherlands. The Belgian National Champion got the better of Amy Pieters (Liv-Plantur) and Ellen Van Dijk (Boels Dolmans).
The 138-km race was the first round of the 2015 UCI Women Road World Cup starting and finishing in Hoogeveen. Some 120 riders took to the start of the 2015 edition of the race, in dry but cold and foggy conditions.
The race started in cagey fashion with many of the favourite riders marking each other, mindful of their overall standing in the World Cup as well as their chances in the race on the day.
A strong Boels Dolmans team set the pace as the race entered the cobbled sections, with Christine Majerus doing most of the work at the front into a headwind. But the Rabo-Liv team know these cobbled roads too well and it was just a matter of time before they took their turn at the front of the race, causing damage and shedding further riders.
An attack from Belorussian Champion Alena Amialiusik (Velocio Sram) caused further breaks in the bunch. Even though her gap only built up to 15 seconds, her efforts were still rewarded with the intermediate sprint win, ahead of Ellen VanDijk (Boels Dolmans) and Elisa LongoBorghini (Wiggle Honda).
With 75km to go and the last and most certainly hardest cobbled section almost over, the bunch had whittled down to 40 riders with Valentina Scandolara (Orica AIS) lining out the bunch.
With two ascents of the VAMberg still left in the last 36km, it was time for last year’s Women World Cup winner Lizzie Armistead (Boels Dolmans) to take matters in her own hands. She attacked, taking Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle Honda) on her wheel.
Although this move was predicted, it broke the race further. The front group was now down to 20 riders including many race favourites such as Amy Pieters (Liv-Plantur), Chloe Hosking (Wiggle Honda), Elena Cecchini (Lotto Soudal), Anna van der Breggen (Rabo Liv), Jolien D’Hoore (Wiggle Honda), Kisten Wild (Hitec Products) and Emma Johansson (Orica AIS).
Less than 30km from the finish, Armistead attacked again on the last accent of the VAMberg, this time taking Lisa Brennauer (Velocio Sram) with her. The twosome was soon caught.
The pace was high with back to back attacks. All breakaway attempts were reeled in by the last 5km, and it was clear the win would be decided in a sprint, but who would still have the legs to pull this off?
As the pace was calming down before the imminent bunch sprint, Wiggle Honda positioned their lead out train in the last kilometre. Chloe Hosking was last to surge, launching Jolien D’Hoore to the line to take the race on her 25th birthday.
“We were well represented in the last kilometres of the race so we decided that I could win the sprint,” said D’Hoore on local television.
Jolien D’Hoore (Wiggle Honda) now leads the overall Women Road World Cup standings, ahead of Amy Pieters (Liv-Plantur) and Ellen Van Dijk (Boels Dolmans).
1. Jolien D’Hoore (Bel) Wiggle Honda 3:33:34
2. Amy Pieters (Ned) Team Liv-Plantur
3. Eleonora van Dijk (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team
4. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team
5. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Wiggle Honda
6. Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Velocio-SRAM
7. Elizabeth Armitstead (Gbr) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team 0:03
8. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica – AIS
9. Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) Ale Cipollini
10. Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Velocio-SRAM
DNS Joëlle Numainville (Can) Bigla Pro Cycling Team