Demi Vollering has become the new Dutch champion at the elite women’s level. The SD Worx cyclist launched an attack in the final lap and crossed the finish line alone in Sittard-Geleen, with a significant lead. Her teammate Lorena Wiebes sprinted to second place, followed by Marianne Vos in third.
This year’s National Road Cycling Championship for women covered more than 153 kilometres. Starting in Valkenburg, the race included a sixty-kilometre initial phase featuring ascents of the Loorberg, Kruisberg and Trintelerberg. The local circuit in Sittard-Geleen also contained several short but sometimes challenging climbs, including a tricky uphill finish on Heerlenerweg. The riders had to complete four and a half laps of the 18.5-kilometre circuit.
With less than a hundred kilometres remaining, two cyclists broke away from the reduced pack: Esmée Peperkamp of Team DSM & Eva van Agt of Jumbo-Visma. Kirstie van Haaften tried to make the leap but ended up in no man’s land, leaving the duo out front. Peperkamp and Van Agt managed to gain a lead of more than four and a half minutes on the peloton, which initially lacked a decisive lead team.
Later on, Marit Raaijmakers, Femke Markus, and eventually Mischa Bredewold took up the chase, which managed to reduce the lead to under a minute with 25 kilometres to go. When the pace in the peloton dropped once again, Demi Vollering seized the initiative. Her attack was neutralised, but the pace was subsequently increased.
At the end of the penultimate lap, an attack from Paulina Rooijakkers was followed by one from Mischa Bredewold. The SD Worx rider failed to break away, but her attack did cause significant disruption in the trailing group. A group of about fifteen riders remained, from which Vollering tried to escape, but couldn’t establish a gap. That changed at the start of the final lap, however, when she broke away and caught up with the lead riders.
Peperkamp was immediately dropped, while Van Agt tried to keep up. She managed for a moment or two but was soon left behind. Van Vleuten, with Bredewold on her wheel, attempted to catch the leading rider from SD Worx, but she couldn’t close the gap. The world champion dropped back to the chasing group, where Jumbo-Visma held the majority. They alternately accelerated in an attempt to catch Vollering. From there it was clear what the result was going to be.
On one of the climbs midway through the final lap, Annemiek van Vleuten made a determined effort to catch up. This thinned out the chasing group, with outgoing champion Riejanne Markus and Karlijn Swinkels at one point taking the lead for Marianne Vos. It was to no avail. Vollering continued to extend her lead and eventually began the final climb with over a minute’s advantage, allowing her to celebrate her first national road title in style.
“Our team has been doing so well all season, so you want to earn the jersey. We had a really good chance here, especially with Lorena. I myself didn’t believe in it so much; I thought I wasn’t feeling great. The whole season has been going so well. The feeling when you cross the line first is so addictive, it’s really the best thing there is. I didn’t have it yet. I have been Dutch champion in gravel before, but of course, I never wore that jersey. I get to wear this one all season.”Demi Vollering
2023 Dutch National Championship Road Race result
Results powered by FirstCycling.com
Main photo credit: Demi Vollering