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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, October 24, 2021

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

Maybe this world is another planet's hell. - Aldous Huxley


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Les Woodland's book Cycling's 50 Triumphs and Tragedies: The rise and fall of bicycle racing's champions is available as an audiobook here.

Team DSM dominate Women's Ronde van Drenthe as Lorena Wiebes wins

Here’s the team’s report:

Team DSM’s Women’s program crowned off a brilliant season with a sensational display of riding at Ronde van Drenthe today, with Lorena Wiebes finishing off an incredible team performance to take the win.

Lorena Wiebes

Lorena Wiebes winning the second stage of the 2019 Tour of Yorkshire.

Lining up for their last race of the season this afternoon at Ronde van Drenthe; the peloton were faced with a 160 kilometre long parcours from Assen to Hoogeveen. The opening half of the race would see the bunch tackle some unpaved and cobbled sections, before in the latter part they would take on four ascents of the infamous man-made VAM-berg climb, followed by a flat 14 kilometres to the line.

It was a steady opening to the afternoon with one solo rider eventually breaking clear but as the race charged into the last 70 kilometres it was all back together and infernal barrage of attacks started. The team worked expertly together, rotating well and making sure that they were represented in any dangerous moves, with Megan Jastrab notably present in several. With the high pace just slowing inside 40 kilometres to go, newly-crowned British champion Pfeiffer Georgi launched a stinging attack and went clear with Barnes, while the rest of the team held their good position at the front of the bunch.

The duo built up a 20 second advantage as they headed towards the final three ascents of the VAM-berg. Riding well together, Georgi and Barnes held onto that lead over the following two ascents, only caught just before the bottom of the last climb. Moving forward en masse, the team were expertly positioned for the final stinging climb, with Georgi, Franziska Koch, Floortje Mackaij and Lorena Wiebes making a front group of seven.

With the race in the balance, Georgi and Koch pushed the pace and gave it their all at the front to break the will of the reduced chasing group, where Susanne Andersen was also policing proceedings. Eventually the elastic snapped and it became clear the front group would fight it out for the win.

Dictating the finale, just like they did throughout the race, the team delivered Wiebes perfectly who launched out of Mackaij’s wheel in the closing 150 metres to take a dominating win; Team DSM’s Women program’s 18th win of the season. To round off a superb day Mackaij, Georgi, Koch and Andersen all finished in positions five through eight, meaning that Team DSM made up half of the top ten in the race.

“The team were incredible today,” beamed Wiebes at the finish. “We set out with a plan to race aggressively and that’s exactly what we did. Pfeiffer made a really good move and the rest of us looked after each other well in the chasing group. On the last time up the VAM-berg I wasn’t sure how the legs would be after a hard race but they were great and four of us made the front. We just went full all the way to the finish and the girls were superb in their lead out to set up the sprint. I’m just really happy that I was able to finish it off for the team and end our season in a really good way.”

Here's the Team Jumbo-Visma report on the Women's Ronde van Drenthe:

Team Jumbo-Visma Women has not succeeded in bringing colour into the final in the Ronde van Drenthe. In the last race of the season, Romy Kasper finished in fifteenth place. The German was the first rider of Team Jumbo-Visma Women to cross the finish line.

Before the start, the team faced a setback. Riejanne Markus had not recovered sufficiently from the flu and could not participate. However, the remaining foursome, consisting of Kasper, Teuntje Beekhuis, Karlijn Swinkels and Anouska Koster, did not let that setback throw them off balance. They showed themselves throughout the day in the pursuit of various leading groups.

In the final the VAM-mountain had to be climbed three times. On the penultimate climb, Team Jumbo-Visma Women had a hard time, but the team showed perseverance. During the last climb, however, the acceleration of some other riders proved too much for the foursome.

“Despite the result, we enjoyed it”, Swinkels said. “This edition of the Ronde van Drenthe was one of the longest races of the season. We rode very strongly. Even though we only had four riders at the start, we raced for six. We were alert the whole day and did not let ourselves be pushed around. In the final we just missed the power and the energy to go with the best. We will take away enough learning points from this race. Every rider has grown in the past season and we have learned enough lessons that we can work with. I am convinced that next season we will see an even stronger Team Jumbo-Visma Women.”

Annemiek van Vleuten finishes 2021 season as World No. 1 rider

Here’s the report from Van Vleuten’s Movistar team:

As the Ronde van Drenthe, the last categorized race of the 2021 season, was held on Saturday, the Movistar Team can now celebrate the final success from its main reference, Annemiek van Vleuten, in the two biggest international rankings: the UCI Women’s WorldTour, which she has led uninterruptedly since July, and the UCI World Ranking, whose list will be led by the Dutchwoman at the end of the year.

Annemiek Van Vleuten

Annemiek van Vleuten racing the 2020 Olympic time trial. Sirotti photo

Van Vleuten, who obtained 12 victories in 2021, including the Olympic ITT gold, the Ronde van Vlaanderen and three stageraces -two of them (Norway, La Vuelta) part of the WWT-, will end the season with almost 1,600 points of advantage in the World Ranking over her nearest pursuer, Elisa Longo Borghini (TFS). At the WorldTour, which only counts top-ranked events, ‘Miek’ has a 600-point margin over a trio with Demi Vollering (SDW), Longo Borghini and Marianne Vos (TJV).

The Movistar Team’s enormous growth in 2021 -with Emma Norsgaard just off the top-ten (11th) in the world ranking- also sees its effects applied to the team WorldTour and UCI ranking, both of which feature the Sebastián Unzué-led squad in 3rd place, behind SD Worx and Trek-Segafredo. That position could improve even further on January 1st, thanks to the points scored by their 2022 signings: Arlenis Sierra (26th) and Sarah Gigante.

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