Van den Broek-Blaak claims third Dutch national title in Arnhem

Chantal van den Broek-Blaak is the new Dutch women’s road race champion, outlasting Yara Kastelijn on the final lap.

The race saw its first decisive moment with around 30km remaining when a group of 13 riders, representing all major teams, broke away. Sensing an opportunity, van den Broek-Blaak launched a successful attack just before the final lap. Kastelijn was the only rider able to keep pace, repeatedly attempting to drop van den Broek-Blaak on the climbs. However, van den Broek-Blaak held her ground and surged ahead with 6km remaining.

As Kastelijn was absorbed by a chasing group, van den Broek-Blaak managed her resources expertly, maintaining a 10-second lead as she entered the final two kilometres. She held her nerve to secure the national title for the third time.

Her teammate Mischa Bredewold clinched silver, 8 seconds behind, narrowly beating Nina Kessler in the sprint. Loes Adegeest finished fourth, with Pauliena Rooijakkers in fifth.

In an emotional interview with NOS, van den Broek-Blaak described the victory as the highlight of her career, especially since returning from maternity leave. “There is a lot that has happened in the past few years, but this has been the best year of my life. And it is the best win of my career, with my little one at the finish line,” she said.

“I am shaking, I really didn’t expect this at all,” she continued. “I’ve had some tough months, but also the best with Noa’s birth. Coming back was very hard, but I kept believing and had a super day today.”

Van den Broek-Blaak admitted that she knew she still had it in her physically, but the return was challenging. “I knew I still had it physically, but being out for a year made it very tough. The peloton has changed; it’s more pushing and shoving, the level is higher, and everything needs to fall into place. But I knew I could do it physically,” said the 34-year-old from Rotterdam.

“I woke up with confidence today, something I haven’t had for a long time,” she added. Her last victory was in October 2021, making this win even more special. “It’s been a long time, but this has been the best year of my life. And it’s the best win of my career, with my little one at the finish line. I feel very relaxed about it, I’m just doing my best. I’m in my place here.”

The race took place in Arnhem, with the early stages featuring five laps on the Posbank. Despite initial expectations, the climb didn’t serve as the decisive factor, with the crucial break occurring in the latter part of the race.

Marianne Vos and Lorena Wiebes missed the initial break but attempted to bridge the gap, only for the peloton to halt. Bredewold successfully joined the break solo, giving SD Worx three riders in a group of 14.

The harmony within the breakaway was disrupted by frequent attacks, with van den Broek-Blaak’s decisive move coming with 10km to go, dragging Kastelijn along. With 7km remaining, Kastelijn attacked fiercely, but van den Broek-Blaak countered effectively.

Directly after the race, van den Broek-Blaak reflected on her victory: “I am shaking; I really didn’t expect this. I’ve had the best months of my life with Noa’s birth but also the toughest with my return to the peloton. Everything is different. There’s more pushing in the peloton, and things hadn’t fallen into place yet.”

Nonetheless, she remained determined, even through the difficult months. “I knew I still had it physically. It’s been a long time since I woke up with confidence, but today I did,” she said with a broad smile.

2024 Netherlands National Road Race Championship Women result

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

Main photo credit: ANP

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