Race report

Team DSM and Lorena Wiebes go back-to-back at Ronde van Drenthe after sublime sprint win

Ronde van Drenthe

Continuing their fantastic early season form, Team DSM’s Women’s program tasted victory for the second time in 2022 as Lorena Wiebes powered home to take the win at Ronde van Drenthe after a brilliant team effort, doubling-up on the team’s win at the race in 2021.

The famous or infamous, depending on how you look at it, VAM-berg lay ahead of the peloton this afternoon with four ascents of the steep, cobbled, man-made climb to contend with over the 155 kilometre long Ronde van Drenthe route. Setting out with a plan, the team wanted to replicate their 2021 success and aimed to bring finisher Lorena Wiebes into the finale in the best way possible.

Working well as a group, Megan Jastrab and Leah Kirchmann ensured that no dangerous moves escaped early in the day, before the race began to split up on the VAM-berg and the surrounding windswept roads. Strong positioning work from Franziska Koch allowed Floortje Mackaij, Pfeiffer Georgi and Wiebes to make the front group with 30 kilometres to go; where both Mackaij and Georgi policed and expertly marked out attacks.

As a result, the race was all together for the last ascent of the VAM-berg where an infernal pace was set by other teams. Mackaij managed to make the reduced front group of around ten riders, with Georgi and Wiebes in the group just behind. After some brilliant slowing of the group from Mackaij and a massive turn from Georgi, the two groups came together. Yet, the attacks didn’t stop and just as things came back together with ten kilometres to go, a dangerous quartet went clear. Shouldered with the bulk of the work, Georgi and Mackaij worked tirelessly on the front of the chasing bunch before other teams chipped in with around four kilometres to go.

It was a nail biting finish but the quartet were caught in the closing 600 metres, with Georgi dropping off Wiebes in third wheel. With the finish line beckoning, Wiebes got the jump on the other sprinters and powered clear, instantly getting a gap of a bike length and from there no one was able to come around her in the closing 150 metres. Sitting up to celebrate, Wiebes let out a scream of delight, which was mimicked by the joyous celebrations from the rest of the team as they joined her after the line: marking another brilliant win after some superb teamwork.

“Today we showed again that we have a really strong team,” expressed Wiebes. “Megan, Franzi and Leah did a really good job with positioning us for the difficult moments, despite some bad luck. All of the time we were in the front for the VAM-berg and reacted on the attacks which was really good. Before the VAM-berg for the last time I had a flat but was happy to come back to the peloton. Pfeiffer stayed with me on the VAM-berg and Floortje made it into the front group, before Pfeiffer then closed the gap to them. A couple of groups tried to go clear and in the end there were four riders away but Floortje and Pfeiffer started chasing and it was all under control. I’m really happy to be able take the win for everyone after a day with so much teamwork. We’re really looking forward to our next races now.”

Team DSM coach Albert Timmer said: “The race was quite hectic in some parts, but we saw a lot of dedication from the team and everyone really helped to achieve our goal today – it was a true joint effort. I’m also really proud of how we rode in the finale, it shows that we’re working really well together and we’re all looking forward to our next races as a group.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 WIEBES Lorena Team DSM 4:03:31 400
2 BALSAMO Elisa Trek - Segafredo 0:01 320
3 KOPECKY Lotte Team SD Worx ,, 260