Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma), four-time champion of the Simac Ladies’ Tour, stormed through the prologue of the 2021 edition to take her fifth victory of the 2021 season. She leads the general classification, taking just 3’01” to cover the 2.4km course, though she has a clutch of jerseys to choose from: as well as the leader’s, she took the points classification and the combativity award.
Vos said after the race: “I already started exploring the course last Friday, but during the race it always feels different. It is important that you almost know the course by heart, that you can dream it.”
The prologue was a snappy 2.4km around the streets of central Ede, with a flat but technical course full of sharp corners.
“The team has also been really busy with the right technique.” Vos said. “It’s so short that it comes down to the details. We wanted to go for a stage win, so it’s great that it’s already in.” Her teammates Anouska Koster and Karljin Swinkels came in 12th and 16th respectively.
When most of the competitors were separated by fractions of a second, Vos was five seconds ahead of Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo), who came in second at 3’06”, and six seconds ahead of Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope), who came in third at 3’07”.
Van Dijk said she’d found the technical aspects of the short course a challenge:
“Of course, you always want to win, but I didn’t expect to win here just because it was a very technical course. It was nine corners in two kilometers, so not something that I like. I am not the fastest where it’s just accelerating-braking, accelerating-braking.”
After the podium places, SD Worx came in fourth and sixth, with Lonneke Uneken and Christine Majerus putting in fast times. Christine Majerus is, of course, the defending champion – though before the race, she’d said that she wasn’t nursing any ambitions to defend her title, since the longer time trial would be more of a struggle for her. Lonneke Uneken now wears the white jersey for best young rider, with Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM), who took fifth place, and Charlotte Kool (NXTG Racing), who took tenth, hot on her heels. Kool, notably, is in her first stage race at the WorldTour level. Her 3’09” matched Barabara Guarischi (Movistar) in ninth, but she was a mere 0.006 km/h slower.
Elisa Balsamo (Valcar Travel & Racing) took seventh place. Lisa Klein (Canyon//Sram Racing) was eighth, at 3’09”; she was eyeing the prologue and “looking to go all out” before the race, after disappointment with her performance in the individual time trial in Tokyo.
Chantal Blaak of SD Worx came in eleventh, at 3’10”. Her teammate Demi Vollering, a contender for the general classification, was at 3’13”, twelve seconds down on Vos, and twenty-seventh overall. Before the race, SD Worx had said they would be looking to performance in the individual time-trials to decide who would be their race leader.
Other notable results: Alice Barnes (Canyon//Sram Racing), the British time trial champion, finished in fourteenth with 3’11”. Marlen Reusser, silver medallist at the Tokyo time-trial, and second in the 2020 World Championship time trial, came in eighteenth place at 3’12”, wearing the neon yellow of Ale BTC Ljublana – which she’ll be switching out next year for SD Worx kit. Emma Norsgaard (Movistar) finished just a fraction behind her in nineteenth.