The final day of racing at the Healthy Ageing Tour saw the peloton take on a challenging circuit based around the infamous VAM-berg climb. As the peloton rolled out from the start line the sun was shining, but after around 40 kilometres of racing wind and rain lashed down over the bunch, making the day an even more attritional one than it would be under normal conditions.
Lap-by-lap, the bunch slowly whittled down in size as the group chased several attacks throughout the afternoon. The team dug deep over the testing parcours, with Susanne Andersen and Pfeiffer Georgi riding strongly to make it into the drastically reduced chasing peloton with ten kilometres to go. More attackers pushed on over the cobbled VAM-berg as the bunch heard the bell, with Andersen and Georgi giving it their all in the chase group behind. Heading up the ascent for the last time, Georgi put down an impressive display of power to escape from the chasing group, crossing the line for ninth place with Andersen not far behind in 14th.
“It was like an elimination race today with the bunch reducing every time up the VAM-berg so positioning was crucial,” explained Georgi after the race. “Also, the strong winds and heavy rain made it a really tough race out there, but we all kept fighting until the end so I think we can be happy with how we raced today.”
Team DSM coach Hans Timmermans added: “I think in general it was a good day today. We survived with all six of our riders for a long time, with half of the bunch already dropped, before there was then a big explosion from the peloton. Lorena, who had done a lot of work in the first hour and of course crashed two days ago was dropped, alongside Julia. Later on, we had three girls in a group of 20, which was good but unfortunately Esmée crashed out of that group. Pfeiffer and Susanne were then riding for the podium spots inside the last ten kilometres, so I think we can take confidence out of this race. I think we could have won stage one, it would have been close without Lorena’s crash, and I think we’re definitely coming out of the race better than we came into it”
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Photo Credit: Cor Vos