Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) won her third stage of the 2021 Simac Ladies’ Tour, triumphing in the final sprint. Alice Barnes (Canyon//SRAM Racing) came in second, and Amy Pieters (SD Worx) third. Chantal Blaak (SD Worx), after being part of the decisive breakaway yesterday, finished top in the general classification, with Marlen Reusser (Ale BTC Ljubljana) second, Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo) third, and Vos squeezing in at fourth, as well as winning the points classification.
Today’s stage was nineteen laps of a circuit around Arnhem, as it pelted with rain. The peloton was reduced to only 58, decimated after the crash on stage 3 and the difficult stage yesterday.
First order of the day was Anouska Koster – in the red for most combative rider – taking hold of the Queen of the Mountains jersey. After a solo breakaway yesterday, where she’d been first through most of the mountains checkpoints on the circuit, she finished the day only a single point behind Alison Jackson. Before the race, Jackson said that keeping the jersey wasn’t a priority for her: instead, she’d be looking for another stage win. However, for Koster, securing the jersey was clearly a priority: Jumbo-Visma were fully behind her in sprinting for the points.
The first Queen of the Mountains at 11.3km was a full sweep by Jumbo Visma: first, Anouska Koster, second, Marianne Vos, and third, Karlijn Swinkels. At the second Queen of the Mountains, Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//Sram Racing) was first, Femke Markus (Parkhotel Valkenburg) was second, and gathering up the final points came Anouska Koster. At the third Queen of the Mountains, it was Koster first, Karlijn Swinkels (Jumbo Visma) second and Lonneke Uneken (SD Worx) third. With that, Koster was on 33 points, and mathematically could no longer be caught; she could relax, having secured the jersey.
At 72km, Marianne Vos made a dash for it, but was dogged by Chantal Blaak (SD Worx) & Marlen Reusser (Ale BTC Ljubljana) and couldn’t get away. At 90km, a six-strong breakaway formed: Trixi Worrack (Trek-Segafredo), Nina Buijsman (Parkhotel Valkenburg), Teuntje Beekhuis (Jumbo Visma), Ella Harris (Liv Racing), Jeanne Korevaar (Liv Racing), and Teniel Campbell (Team Bikeexchange). At one point, they had a gap of two minutes – with Korevaar, who was only 2’30” down on the general classification, potentially presenting a threat to Chantal Blaak’s yellow jersey – but this came back down to a single minute after some work from SD Worx.
As time passed, the rain increased; the camera images started to blur. The gap started to drop: around 21km, the break had only twenty seconds. Teniel Campbell dropped back to the peloton. Nina Buijsman attacked at the front of the break, but couldn’t get clear. But, by 17.5km, it was back up to 53”; SD Worx, perhaps, were not keen to catch the break too early, and be faced with the responsibility of keeping control of the peloton.
Janneke Ensing (BikeExchange) bridged across to the break from the peloton. As soon as she got their wheel, she went straight on the attack, speeding right past the breakaway group – who looked at each other, wondering who’d chase. Behind them, Parkhotel Valkenburg were attacking from the peloton, which was increasingly hectic and stretched out.
Jeanne Korevaar got clear of the original, and now doomed, break, making it across to Ensing; together, they had twenty seconds. But, soon enough, the attacks from the peloton got across to Korevaar & Ensing, creating a new group of leaders in addition to Ensing and Korevaar, Mischa Bredewold (Parkhotel Valkenburg), Silke Smulders (Lotto Soudal), Eugenie Duval (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine), Teuntje Beekhuis (Jumbo Visma), Ella Harris (Canyon//SRAM Racing).
The rain was getting even heavier. The riders were drenched at this point, water skidding lines from the back of their wheels. Valcar Travel & Service were leading the peloton; the break had only 30 seconds with 6km to go. Riders were steadily dropped from the break, until it was only
Smulders, Bredewold and Duval. Lisa Klein (Canyon//SRAM) on the front of the peloton reeled them back in. Everyone was back together for the final sprint – which was, finally, not pipped to the post by a breakaway, or marred by crashes.
Ellen van Dijk, secure in her third place on the general classification, took a turn leading it out for Amelie Dideriksen (Trek-Segafredo). Canyon//SRAM was there for Alice Barnes. Amelie Dideriksen went for a long sprint, taking a position on the front early, but Marianne Vos, wearing the green jersey, followed behind, slipped around her, and won the sprint. As she said at the end: winning three out of six stages isn’t bad.
Pfeiffer Georgi (Team DSM) took the white jersey for best young rider, in addition to sixth place in the general classification. Annemiek van Vleuten retains her position as overall leader of the Women’s WorldTour, and Niamh Fisher Black retains her position as best young rider.