Photo Credit: Bob Martin / RideLondon
The opening day of action at RideLondon Classique saw Team DSM leave the start line with ambitions of setting up finisher Lorena Wiebes for the sprint. Despite some chaos in the finale, the team delivered Wiebes to the perfect spot, who then romped home to win on the uphill drag to the line – taking a great win for the team.
A steady start to proceedings saw no breakaway form all day and some good positioning work from the team saw Wiebes take maximum bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint. Over the top Henderson attacked solo, building up a dangerous lead while a lot of other teams looked to those in black and blue to do the chase. With the onus very much on the team, they regrouped well and managed to bring the gap down heading into the finale. A crash caused some chaos in the lead outs, meaning Charlotte Kool had to launch early to bring Wiebes into the wheels, but there was no panic amongst the team, as Wiebes darted out from behind those in front, powering home to take a commanding win. With the win Wiebes moves into the GC lead for Team DSM ahead of tomorrow’s hillier finale.
“Today the stage started pretty easily,” explained a joyous Wiebes at the finish. “We did the first intermediate sprint and the girls did a good lead out there so I could take first place. Then Anna Henderson attacked and we controlled things with Franziska. After the second sprint, that Charlotte took from the bunch, the pace went up a lot. It was a bit of a gamble with the gap as we weren’t sure if we would be able to catch Anna back but the girls did a really good job. There was a lot of chaos in the final so we lost each other a bit, but I managed to stay with Charlotte and Megan was also really good in the front. Charlotte brought me to the wheel of Balsamo and from there I was able to sprint how we wanted. I think we can look back on a good day on the bike and hopefully tomorrow and Sunday we can do a full lead out in the finish. I think we can look back on this stage with a lot of confidence for the next days.”
Team DSM coach Pim Ligthart added: “We made a plan to sprint with Lorena today, but we had to improvise a little bit with the lead out because Henderson was strong out front and that shook things up a bit but the team handled it well. There was a small crash in the final so Charlotte had to go early to put Lorena back in a good position for the sprint. In the end Lorena won and took some bonus seconds on the road too, so it’s a great start to this three-day stage race for us. We’ll keep hopefully going like this in the next two stages.”