“Have died 20 times!”
Was it the Cauberg? Was it the Amstel beers afterward? 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! Anyone who was still rubbing sleep from their eyes couldn’t 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 contend with mechanical failure in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
Morning person, Julia had set her alarm clock correctly and was in class. 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 light the fire. But Grace Brown initiated alarm phase 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 went to Cauberg the last time. Everyone knew they had to get her wheel, but the Dutch slumped. Kasia Niewiadoma and Elisa Longo Borghini emerged first. The duo rode in sight of the pursuers and lost their chances by looking at each other. Vos knew what to do: be cunning. Wait and sneak along. To then take the lead at 200 metres from the line. Demi Vollering in the wheel. She came next to her surprisingly quickly, only the white line was just a bit 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 violence, 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 I was an idiot?” But then see to keep it going until the finish. “Ray really shouted me up from the car. It was a time trial to the finish. I died twenty times in that last piece.” In the end, it worked out well. So far, things are going well with Julia this season anyway, she agrees. “I continue to enjoy every minute and have a great time!
Result Amstel Gold Race
Esther van Veen
Dion Kerckhoffs / Cor Vos