In a welcome return to the Women’s WorldTour calendar, the Postnord Vårgårda WestSweden TTT is a rare team time trial that’s a stand-alone event. It’s a sort of warm-up for the road race tomorrow and used to be a great practice in the discipline when the team time trial was a trade team event at the World Championships. It’s been replaced recently by the Mixed Relay, run by national teams but this is still an interesting event that we don’t see much during the season. The pandemic forced the cancellation of the last 2 editions, it’s good to have the race back.
Trek-Segafredo won today’s race by a fairly comfortable margin. It wasn’t all plain sailing for them though. Loretta Hanson was supposed to be an integral part of the final 4 riders needed to cross the line. She was taken out however by bad luck and a visit from the puncture fairy. That forced Amalie Dideriksen to push through until the end and TT world champion Ellen van Dijk to do extra turns.
The route was 35.6km long and wind played a big role in the riding. A tailwind on the way out caused issues for team stability with the high pace. Once the riders turned, they were buffeted by crosswinds and a headwind. Most teams finished with the bare minimum of 4 riders for a counting time.
Parkhotel Valkenburg was the first team to complete the course and would ultimately go on to finish 7th. That team would include riders like Femke Markus and Femke Gerritse who both wore the polka dots jersey at the Tour de France Femmes. Their Dutch compatriots Jumbo-Visma would beat them, setting the 4th best time overall.
The times at the intermediate point showed that it would be a fight between Trek-Segafredo, SD Worx and Team DSM. The flat tyre for Lauretta Hanson of Trek-Segafredo threatened to throw a spanner in the works, however. Once Chloe Hosking was unable to keep up, the pressure was on to keep their foursome together. Audrey Cordon-Ragot, Shirin van Anrooij, Ellen van Dijk and Amalie Dideriksen is a pretty impressive line-up to have though.
The next intermediate point saw that Trek-Segafredo still have the advantage and barring any further issues, they were likely to take the win. There was a brief moment where SD Worx threatened to crash, following a mix-up where half of them attempted to follow a race moto a corner too early before the finish. They stayed upright but ultimately were 38″ behind Trek in 2nd place.