Wiebes Escapes Crash To Sprint To Third

The first stage of the Vuelta a Burgos was marred by a heavy crash in the sprint. Sofia Bertizzolo and Elisa Balsamo fell hard to the ground. Lorena Wiebes narrowly escaped, before sprinting to third place. “I was in Elisa Balsamo’s wheel and was very lucky that no bike fell my way. I was just able to get around it. I didn’t really get to sprint anymore and I’m disappointed about that, but I’m mostly happy that I got away well. I hope Elisa Balsamo and Sofia Bertizzolo are okay,” Lorena Wiebes said after the event.

Lorena Wiebes added, “This was my first road race since the Amstel Gold Race and I had to get back into it. In the final I felt fine. We had hoped for a little more wind, but the wind wasn’t strong enough and the direction wasn’t right. No other team wanted to chase the early breakaway, so we took the initiative. Especially Marlen Reusser and Demi Vollering did a lot of work. They rode super hard. Then you want to finish it for them as well. In the last straight I was in Elisa Balsamo’s wheel. Luckily I was able to narrowly avoid the crash, but I knew the sprint was lost then. That I’m still on the podium in the end does give me confidence.”

“I hope to still take a win in this race,” Wiebes continued. “The third stage will normally be a sprint again. Tomorrow might be a boring day. The last three kilometres are uphill. I’m curious what the classification riders will do there. Who knows, maybe there will still be a chance for me, but that will depend on how hard the climb is.”

Sport Director¬†Anna van der Breggen added, “Nobody showed any intention to chase the early breakaway, so we took the initiative. If three teams had let one or two riders ride up front, the gap would have closed faster. That didn’t happen, so we had to use our entire team to bring about a sprint. Because of this, Lorena Wiebes had to find her own way, as we no longer had a lead-out train due to all the work. Lorena narrowly escaped the crash. We are especially happy that she is unhurt and hope that Sofia Bertizzolo and Elisa Blasamo are doing okay.”

“Tomorrow’s stage is an interesting one for us. There is a climb at the end that may suit our spearheads. 3.8 kilometres at 5.2 percent average is not very tough. It is a question mark how hard that climb will be ridden. This finish certainly suits Demi Vollering, and who knows, maybe Lorena Wiebes as well. In principle we can wait until the end, but with Marlen Reusser, Femke Markus, Femke Gerritse and Marie Schreiber we can also go for the attack.”

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