Blaak´s flight for gold
Chantal Blaak won the Women Elite road race with a huge solo attack 8 kilometers before the finish line.
Story by Benedicte Vabø / Mia Becker
This year's Dutch champion Chantal Blaak took victory in front of Australian Katrin Garfoot, the bronze medalist at the individual time trial. The bronze medal was secured by last year's world champion Amalie Didriksen.
"I can not believe it when I crashed, I had to wait a while and I thought the ride was over. It was not the plan that I should win, but that I would work best for the team. I was so happy to be national champion and now I have the rainbow shirt, “ said Blaak.
There was a happy Norwegian 7th place for Susanne Andersen, the best result so far in this year's World Championship for Norway. "I had never thought so before," said Andersen after the ride. With a slightly better position, she could have come even higher up. ”I could be even tougher and been even further ahead of the last turn, but it became a little chaotic when we caught the others on the run," she continued.
Norway and Sweden from start
That the Norwegian women had plans to mark themselves in the rides already appeared on the first round when Andersen lay in front and towed the rest of the field. In front of the bridge, Swede Sara Penton moved and she led 37 seconds on the main field after 19.1 kilometers. The Swedes held their time gap and after passing 38.2 kilometers, Penton led 18 seconds to Melissa Lowther from the UK who had come out of the main bunch. The big main field passed 56 seconds behind the leading Swedish rider.
Just after the Puddefjord bridge, there was a Swedish-British duo in front, before Lowther drove away from Penton towards the Laksebakken. In front of the Fløibanen, the Netherlands set its first bump and the field was together at 57.3 kilometers.
New break attempt
Up the Salmon Hill in lap 4 it was quiet before the storm, but down to the center the speed was set again, and Alice Barnes and Blaak appeared. Then Andersen pushed and she got a few meters. By passing halfway after 76.4 kilometers, Andersen had 10 seconds ahead of the field and for a short while she rode with Ellen van Dijk. But this attempt was quickly brought back.
There were new attacks after 70 kilometers when Dutch Amy Pieters, Briton Hannah Barnes and Australian Rachel Neylan went together. The trio had only 10 seconds on the field over the top for the fifth time, but a big effort in the front of the field increased this. Involved in the field were three Italians with Elena Cecchini, Elisa Longo Borghini and Elisa Balsamo. But also world champion Blaak hit the asphalt. Worst affected was Megan Guarnier who could not finish the race.
The Netherlands and Australia on the attack
Passing 95.5 kilometers the trio led with 35 seconds on the reduced main bunch. There was shock all over the Laksebakken and on the descent, the Netherlands and Australia were on the attack. A quartet was formed with Hannah Barnes, Australian Gracie Elvin and Dutch riders Amy Pieters and Lucinda Brand. The Danes took responsibility and drove in the quartet, upon passing 114.6 kilometers the field was together with 71 remaining riders.
The stars set the pace
Immediately after passing, there was new attack from Vita Heine and Marianne Vos. And then Briton Danielle King went too. Dutch Janneke Ensing, French Elise Delzenne and Australian Amanda Spratt went after and formed a new quartet in front.
In Laksebakken, the last time, they really began to move ahead and a very high pace resulted in a group getting away. Among the group were Van der Breggen, Van Vleuten, Garfoot, Pauline Prevot Ferrand, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, Katarzyna Niewiadoma, Elizabeth Deignan and Tatiana Guderzo. The group quickly swallowed the break, but there was minimal cooperation between the stars.
Behind, in the main bunch, there was much better cooperation and they brought back the group.
Then a new strong attempt came with Blaak, French rider Audrey Cordon Ragot and again Hannah Barnes. Sarah Roy from Australia went after them. At 133.7 kilometers, with 19.1 kilometers to go, the trio had 11 seconds on Roy and 32 seconds on the main peloton of 45 riders.
In the Laksebakken for the last time, the trio led 42 seconds on a main field headed by the local hero Heine. In the middle of the hill Niewiadoma went too and she brought Van Viguten, van der Breggen and Garfoot with her and these four formed at the front right before the top.
With 8 kilometers left to go, Blaak went and no other rider propelled themself from the group. All attempted escapes by the others were covered by the two remaining Dutch riders.
After the longest solo breakaway for women in a World Championship, Blaak could bask in the glory of a 28-second lead ahead of what had reformed into a major main field. The bunch sprint was won by Garfoot in front of Didriksen.
Norwegian rider Heine crossed the line in 28th place at 28 seconds behind the new World Champion.
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