As in previous days, multiple attacks were made at the start of the stage to try and get clear but no groups were able to form out front. The fighting and attacking continued, with the team riding well to cover any potentially dangerous moves. The race did split at one point, however, the 15 rider front group could only get 20 seconds of an advantage before they were brought back.
Entering the last 30 kilometres, one solo rider hit out and gained a gap over the peloton who spread across the road. Yet, the bunch were always in control and the catch was made before ten kilometres to go, as the pace ramped up ahead of the expected sprint finish. Riding well as a unit, the team moved forward together; keeping finisher Lorena Wiebes in a good position through the twisting Dutch roads. At six kilometres to go a sudden narrowing of the road saw Wiebes drop down and dip her wheel onto the gravel, and unfortunately involved in a big crash, although she was able to remount and finish the stage.
With a large part of the peloton held up, only six riders made the front group, with Pfeiffer Georgi and Susanne Andersen up there for the team. Coming into the technical finale, Andersen and Georgi gave it their all, sprinting to the line to take second and third at the finish. With the splits in the bunch, Georgi moves into sixth on GC and the lead of the white jersey competition ahead of the weekend’s racing.
“We were going all in to keep it together for a bunch sprint today, and definitely didn’t want to end up with the same situation as the second day,” explained Andersen at the finish. “We were in control of everything that went up the road and kept compact towards the front of the bunch. Towards the last kilometres it was all together and Pfeiffer, Lorena and myself were well positioned as the second team. The road narrowed a little though and the gutter was deep, and unfortunately Lorena went down hard. It left Pfeiffer and me in the front group and it was hard switching my mindset to sprinting for myself after seeing Lorena go down. I knew I had to be first through the last corner but I waited too long with overtaking Pfeiffer and messed it up a bit. Honestly, I’m annoyed at myself for making a mistake like that. What matters the most though is that Lorena will have a good recovery, and also all the other riders who went down in that nasty crash too.”
Team DSM coach Albert Timmer added: “We were in control for most of the race and we rode a really good stage. Unfortunately, Lorena was involved in a hard crash and that of course impacted our plans for the finale, but the most important thing is that she recovers in a good way.”
Photo Credit: Cor Vos