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Veenhoven Edges Out Baker in Thrilling Down Under Criterium Finish

Nienke Veenhoven of Visma-Lease a Bike emerged victorious in a pulsating Down Under Criterium, narrowly defeating Georgia Baker of Liv Jayco AlUla by half a bike length. The post-Women’s Tour Down Under race, set on a 1.2km circuit in Adelaide’s Victoria Park, concluded with a 12-rider sprint after a breakaway was caught on the final lap.

Veenhoven’s triumph was a testament to the relentless efforts of her Visma-Lease a Bike team and Women’s Tour Down Under overall winner Sarah Gigante (AG Insurance-Soudal), who worked in unison to reel in the breakaway led by Nienke Vinke (DSM-Firmenich PostNL) and FDJ-Suez. The Dutch rider, known for her strong track racing background, utilised her skills honed in the velodrome, where she secured second in the scratch race at last year’s Dutch national track championships, behind Lorena Wiebes of SD-Worx Protime.

Lauretta Hanson of Lidl-Trek clinched third place, with Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ) and Soraya Paladin (Canyon SRAM) completing the top five in the tightly contested race.

Ziptrak prime sprint winners during the race included Veenhoven, who clinched the first sprint at 15 minutes, and Alex Manly (Liv AlUla Jayco), who took the second sprint at 30 minutes.

This year’s Tour Down Under concluded on Sunday, with Gigante taking the final stage on Willunga Hill and the overall classification, ahead of Vinke. The criterium marked the end of the second Santos Tour Down Under women’s WorldTour, with Veenhoven’s surprise victory adding a new name to the event’s history.

The 19-year-old Dutch rider, making her debut in the WorldTour race last week, expressed delight at her team’s performance and the opportunity to participate in the Santos Tour Down Under. Veenhoven’s win represents a significant milestone in her burgeoning career, joining Gigante as one of the standout performers of this year’s event.

Gigante, set to conclude her South Australian campaign with a time trial challenge against Australian cycling icon Richie Porte at Willunga Hill, played a pivotal role in the main peloton’s chase during the final stages of the criterium. Brodie Chapman (Lidl-Trek) and Germany’s Nienke Vinke (DSM-firmenich PostNL) also made significant moves in the race, with Australia’s national criterium champion Ruby Roseman-Gannon (Liv AlUla Jayco) in contention until the very end. However, Veenhoven’s explosive sprint finish ultimately secured her the criterium title.

2024 Tour Down Under Criterium result

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