The Women's Road Racing Thread 2021

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Alison Jackson, Nina Buysman and Maëlle Grossetête have made up the break of the day, but they never had much more than a two minute advantage. Buysman has dropped back, and the gap is now 30 seconds with 6 km left. Canyon are doing most of the chasing.
 
So now the race has openned up again because of a crash caused by Wiebes with 5 km to go, that took out the whole peloton apart from Van den Broek-Blaak, Uneken, Pieters, Vollering, Andersen and Georgi.

Lonneke Uneken won the stage in front of Andersen and Georgi.

Consonni, I think, won the sprint ahead of Dideriksen in a group with Reusser, Van Dijk and Klein at 29 seconds. Vos and Bastianelli only lost 14 seconds.

 
That was kind of dirty. Riding for a sprint ok, but that was straight up taking advantage of a crash for GC reasons. Hope they don't complain when they are on the receiving end of lying in the ditch, but for the biggest teams things are always different.
 
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Seems like the whole movistar team was taken out. Norsgaard did not look good at the finish. I’m gonna guess that her previous stament in a Danish podcast that Wiebes is often crashing and endagering the peloton, still stands after today.
 
Jesse Vandenbulcke was apparently the rider who most hurt in that crash through the finalbend. That looked horrible.

I think Norsgaard hit one of her teammates, who went down in front of her.
The road was getting narrower at that point, which made Wiebes end up in the ditch, and unfortunately she fell onto the road instead of off it.

SD Worx took advantage of it, but they had also put themselves in the best position before the crash. That's racing, though you obviously don't want to see a race be decided by crashes. Hopefully Reusser isn't too badly hurt.

 
Norsgaard and Wiebes could be a very hostile rivalry for some time to come. After her contract antics, Lorena charging around the pack like a bull in a china shop does not speak to somebody who plays nice, while Norsgaard gives off the impression of somebody who may at times be a bit too loose-lipped. Definitely feels like there's no love lost between the pair and I can't see that changing any time soon.
 
Some good racing breaking out. It's a shame this is the hilliest stage really, a proper Limburg stage like they have had for most of the last few years would balance out that TT. Reusser being dropped and fighting her way back on as SD Worx and Canyon-SRAM put the hurt on. Koster leads on the road but with the pace on in the splintered away favourites group she's probably doomed, she's already lost the virtual lead, and I suspect she may be asked to drop back for Vos before long.

The péloton is now split into four and we have some proper Classics racing going on. The weather sucks, which of course because we're racing in the Benelux, on narrow roads with punchy climbs and with a gazillion twists and turns that make it difficult to keep other groups in sight, is a good thing.

Marty says the words "Kasia Niewiadoma attacks on the climb" as though this is a novel thing.

Van den Broeck-Blaak has been collecting bonus seconds and now we have a lead quartet, Koster has been joined by Vos, VDBB and Niewiadoma and the group behind is needing Reusser to defend, VDBB is only 5 seconds behind on GC now vand looks like the favourite as they have all 4 riding up front, although Koster hasn't got too much left it seems, whereas Reusser only has Bastianelli for support.

Lack of cohesion behind now, though, Jackson attacking that group because she doesn't want to ride on for Reusser's lead, but does want to preserve her high GC, as the quartet have now established quite a nice advantage as we're inside 30km to go. Reusser not happy with the lack of cohesion and tries to attack on her own, this gets pulled back and they lose momentum and Bastianelli gets back on the front.

Inside 25km, and Anouska is done, she's simply run out of support that she can give. Reusser is now alone, Bastianelli is hanging on to the rear of the group on the uphill - suspect her aim is solely to stay there long enough to be able to catch back on and give some more support. However group 3 is about to make contact. The good news for Reusser is that Laura Tomasi is in that group giving Alé a third rider so another helper for Marlen. The bad news is that means that the lead trio have got a gap in excess of 30 seconds now.

As we pass 20km to go the gap is almost up to a minute, and riders look like they've been going through an early 00s Roubaix. Tomasi helping Reusser on the front and now Team DSM helping on the front now they've got some riders up there with Georgi for assistance, which is pegging the escapees at around 50 seconds. Anouska Koster now falling out of the péloton. The road goes uphill, and as sure as the day is long, Niewiadoma gets out the saddle and accelerates. Time gap is fluctuating around 40-50 seconds now, a bit less work up front and van Dijk, well placed in the GC, is hovering around near the front without pacing. The third group joining brings Vollering and others with it too.

At the 14km remaining mark the gap hits a minute...
 
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Yes, I suspect they may start to bluff Chantal toward the end though. The Swijkhuizerberg is not really difficult enough for Kasia to win this, she has attacked several times on this but you'd say 3rd place seems most likely for her here. She'd need something a bit steeper and longer to get rid of these two.

Georgi now trying to escape, with Alison Jackson, as they are sensing the race going away, although Jastrab just did a big turn to pull back some time on the break which is getting less cohesive as they get closer to the finish and, with VDBB having such a clear lead over Vos and Niewiadoma on the GC, potentially they're thinking about bluffing in the aim of taking the stage a bit more than they are thinking about working together to stay away at this stage. We haven't seen them on camera for a while. Vollering has joined the Georgi group alongside Reusser, Pieters and a few others, so the momentum has gone back out of it, though the gap has halved in side, barely over 30 seconds now with 8km left.

Vollering and ieters running interference, but the gap is really shrunken now, just 26" and the rain has stopped, though as Reusser gets on the front for the chase group the gap starts to go out again with the leaders taking the downhill slightly better.
 
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Gap going back up again now. The impetus is gone once Reusser gets back on, but then she's isolated so the other Alé riders chase on and take up the pacing again. Great perseverence from Bastianelli and Tomasi, but they really look like they're on their last legs. Dani, rightly, questioning why exactly Niewiadoma is still working... which is when she attacks, and she briefly opens up a gap on CVDBB, but Vos is right there on the wheel. The Cannibal won't roll through though because she knows she can outsprint Kasia and Kasia has to go on the final climb, so Chantal gets back on. Vos will fancy herself in a 400m climb against Kasia and will fancy herself in a sprint with Chantal.

As a result everybody knows Niewiadoma has to attack on the final climb so make her lead out on to it. Cat and mouse, cat and mouse. At 500m Kasia is off, and again Chantal struggles to hold on, but Kasia can't get rid of Marianne and they return to cat and mouse again. Vos opens up the sprint and Marianne Vos is Marianne Vos. Away she goes and she gets a time gap. Niewiadoma takes 2nd, and for some reason Pieters and Vollering were accelerating on the back but looks like they've opened up time on Marlen Reusser, who is several seconds behind. Marty and Dani perplexed by SD Worx.
 
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Gap going back up again now. The impetus is gone once Reusser gets back on, but then she's isolated so the other Alé riders chase on and take up the pacing again. Great perseverence from Bastianelli and Tomasi, but they really look like they're on their last legs. Dani, rightly, questioning why exactly Niewiadoma is still working... which is when she attacks, and she briefly opens up a gap on CVDBB, but Vos is right there on the wheel. The Cannibal won't roll through though because she knows she can outsprint Kasia and Kasia has to go on the final climb, so Chantal gets back on. Vos will fancy herself in a 400m climb against Kasia and will fancy herself in a sprint with Chantal.

As a result everybody knows Niewiadoma has to attack on the final climb so make her lead out on to it. Cat and mouse, cat and mouse. At 500m Kasia is off, and again Chantal struggles to hold on, but Kasia can't get rid of Marianne and they return to cat and mouse again. Vos opens up the sprint and Marianne Vos is Marianne Vos. Away she goes and she gets a time gap. Niewiadoma takes 2nd, and for some reason Pieters and Vollering were accelerating on the back but looks like they've opened up time on Marlen Reusser, who is several seconds behind. Marty and Dani perplexed by SD Worx.
I get the riding from Pieters and Vollering, but I don't understand why VdBB didn't take the front through the final kilometer.
She was never going to win the stage, and even if she was very tired there was no need to throw away time on purpose.
 
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Reusser and Van Dijk are still within 30 seconds of the lead, while Vollering and Vos are 33 and 34 off the podium, so changes can still be made tomorrow. It will be hard for anyone to beat SD Worx though, as per usual.

 

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