Dutch rider Riejanne Markus won Stage 4 of the 2022 Simac Ladies Tour with a late solo attack that couldn’t be caught. With 6km left to race, Markus put down the power, which Amanda Spratt at the head of the peloton was unable to match. With the gap firmly established, a series of technical roundabouts assisted Markus and so did the members of her team behind. Lorena Wiebes did a great ride all day and finished 2nd and likely would’ve been her 3rd stage win if not for the move by Markus. Wiebes retained the leader’s jersey for another day.
Stage 4 was seen as the queen stage of this year’s Simac Ladies Tour with a sort of Amstel Gold Race-lite circuit around Valkenburg and its infamous climb, the Cauberg. A chance then for riders with strong climbing skills to drop the sprinters like Wiebes and put in some time back on the general classification. Kirstie van Haaften was the early attack, solo for a long time until Anna Henderson and Julie van de Velde bridged across. Between them, the trio stayed ahead for almost all of the climbing, only caught late on as the race entered its final stage. Never getting more than a minute, the bunch was determined that a break wouldn’t win today.
Held over 135.2 kilometres, the hills took their toll but so did crashes. Pfeiffer Georgi and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, both potential race winners coming into the race, were forced to abandon after a crash. We also saw Anastasia Carbonari crash heavily into a parked car. It had been signalled by a police officer but from the replays, it looked like maybe Carbonari was looking down at the time and then had nowhere to go when she looked back up. The Latvian national champion lost consciousness for a time, such was the impact, but regained consciousness before being taken to hospital.
We saw some attacks but Wiebes rode most of the climbs from the front, ensuring a watchful eye and setting her own tempo. With the likes of Moolman-Pasio out of action, some of the riders with the real advantage here were unable to put down the hurt. Spratt attacked in a move that saw the break caught but the front group closed her down quickly. It was beginning to look like a sprint was on the cards again until Riejanne Markus unleashed some magic and took a comfortable stage win in the end. Going into the time trial tomorrow, Markus will hope to regain some of the losses from Stage 1 and move up to the top of the general classification.
“We were really looking forward to it! Because the previous stages were sprint stages and it is difficult to beat Lorena there. Then you have to come up with something and that’s why Anna Henderson went on the attack early today.
When she was taken back, I knew the time had come for me to attack. That it works, is really cool. My coach told me not to look back and to keep accelerating towards the finish. I knew it was close, so I didn’t look back and hoped I could make it.”
[Looking ahead to the time trial] – I’m really looking forward to it. The course suits me perfectly. But we still have several options and Karlijn Swinkels and Anna Henderson are still very high in the standings.”Riejanne Markus