Was it the Cauberg? Was it the Amstel beers afterwards? Whatever it was. The women rode yesterday as if the Three Foolish Days of the Bijenkorf had started again. As soon as the start was given, they flew into the race as if it were a criterium. The Cauberg Criterium. The 21 climbs didn’t matter. Don’t wait. Just go! Whoever was still rubbing the sleep from their eyes could shake it. Just after 9 o’clock the peloton broke into 2 groups and many riders never saw the front again. Including Mischa and Marit who both had to deal with material breakdowns in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
Morning person, Julia had set her alarm clock correctly and was on the lookout. For a long time she was in the group of favourites. Where we saw strange things. Anna van der Breggen, also Chantal Blaak could no longer keep up with the pace. Several riders tried to stoke the fire. But Grace Brown initiated alarm stage one. With one lap to go she jumped away with Paulina Rooijakkers. The gap was 30 seconds in no time. Time to intervene for SD-Worx, Trek and Movistar.
Annemiek van Vleuten took on Cauberg the last time. Everyone knew they had to grab her wheel, but the Dutch rider sank. Kasia Niewiadoma and Elisa Longo Borghini emerged first. The duo drove within sight of the pursuers and lost their chances by looking at each other. Vos knew what to do: be cunning. Wait and sneak along. And then take the lead at 200 meters from the line. Demi Vollering in the wheel. She came surprisingly quickly next to her, only the white line was just a little faster. Vos almost raised her arms too early, but on the finish photo, she won the Amstel Gold Race for the first time.
In the midst of all that fighting, Julia fought her way into the top 30. She knew she had to get away for a good result. Attempt one failed. Attempt two on the Geulhemmerberg was successful. “Then I thought: I can’t go back now. Certainly not to all those girls, who think that was an idiot?” But make sure to keep it up until the finish. “From the car, Ray really shouted me up. It was a time trial to the finish. I died twenty times in that last part.” In the end, it worked out well. So far, Julia is doing well this season, she agrees. “I continue to enjoy every minute and have a great time.