September 11, 2021
European Championships 2021 – Road Race WE – Trento – Trento : 107,2 km
The European Road Cycling Championships have been held every year since 1995,
September 11, 2021
European Championships 2021 – Road Race WE – Trento – Trento : 107,2 km
The European Road Cycling Championships have been held every year since 1995, but it wasn’t until 2016 that we saw the event graced with Elite riders. The European Road Cycling Championships have often taken place around mid-summer, but for 2021 the events will take place in early September, just a few weeks before the all-important World Championships. As the riders race for their national teams in these kinds of events, the European Championships provide them with a great chance to get to know their teammates and work on their game plan ahead of the biggest one-day race of the year – the World Road Race Championships. Could this finally be the year we see a rider go on to win both the European and World title in the same year?
Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands) soloed to a remarkable victory in the women’s road race at the European Championships in Trento, Italy, completing a near-perfect week following her silver medal in the time-trial on Thursday.
Once a world champion in the individual time-trial and four times a European champion in the same discipline, Van Dijk drew upon all this experience to measure her effort expertly after attacking the breakaway on the penultimate ascent of the Povo Climb, 26km from the finish.
As Van Dijk attacked from the breakaway, Liane Lippert (Germany) attacked from the peloton drawing out a select group of favourites. Though this group reduced Van Dijk’s advantage to as little as ten seconds on the Povo climb, Van Dijk was able to rebuild her lead on the descent and flatter sections of the circuit, with her Netherlands teammates helping slow the chase.
In the sprint for the podium places, Lippert took the silver medal, a just reward for her endeavours, while Rasa Leleivyte (Lithuania) finished in third.
How it unfolded
The sixth edition of the women’s road race at the European Championships took place on a 13.2km circuit that began in Trento’s Piazza Duomo.
Circling the town and skirting the mountains that loom over the landscape there, the circuit was tackled eight times. The Povo climb – a 3.6km ascent at 4.7 per cent – provided the primary obstacle on this course and, indeed, each time the peloton tackled these slopes it became a little smaller as riders were fired out the back of the group.
Though the start was delayed due to an ambulance on the circuit to treat a local resident, once the racing had started it was fast and frantic.
As ever, the Dutch were the favourites for contained within their ranks were three former European champions — Marianne Vos, Amy Pieters and Annemiek van Vleuten. Accordingly, they, through Riejanne Markus, policed the front of the peloton, to prevent the formation of a breakaway before the first ascent of the Povo climb.
Starkly illustrating the difficulty of this climb, 25 riders slipped out of contention on this first ascent, unable to maintain the pace. On the next lap, the action took place at the front of the peloton rather than the back as various attacks sought to form a breakaway but still no group could escape the peloton’s clutches.
Finally, on the descent, Audrey Cordon-Ragot (France) launched the first of several French attacks, and though she was chased down by Belgium and the Netherlands, her teammate Eugénie Duval immediately countered. Duval was joined by Tanja Erath (Germany) but Markus was once more posted to the front of the peloton and contained the danger that this pair posed.
Replicating the tactic she had employed on the previous lap, Cordon-Ragot attacked again with 80km to go. This time she was able to prise open a 20 second gap but was reabsorbed into the peloton shortly afterwards.
Fifteen kilometres later the day’s breakaway formed, composed of representatives from four of the strongest nations present: Van Dijk, Aude Biannic (France), Soraya Paladin (Italy) and Romy Kasper (Germany). They created a gap of almost a minute over the next ten kilometres.
This leading quartet became a trio, however, as Biannic was dropped on the slopes of the Povo climb, 48km from the finish. Simultaneously, Marianne Vos (Netherlands) was surprisingly distanced from the peloton, perhaps suffering in the heat.
In a display of their complex tactics and the multitudinous options available to them, the Netherlands led the chase despite Van Dijk’s presence in the breakaway. Belgium, who had no representation in this move, were content to follow in their wake.
The following ascent of the Povo Climb further diminished the firepower within the breakaway as Kasper was dropped, 35km from the finish, and as soon as she re-entered the peloton, the German team moved to the front to control the race. As a result of their efforts, combined with those of the Belgian team, the time gap began to fall a little.
With only Paladin for company, Van Dijk attacked on the flat section of the course but was unable to shake the attentions of the Italian. Showing the true extent of her form, Van Dijk accelerated again on the Povo climb 23km from the finish and was finally able to distance the talented Italian climber.
Forty seconds behind, meanwhile, a blistering attack by Liane Lippert (Germany) on the penultimate ascent of the Povo obliterated both the remnants of the peloton and the advantage that Van Dijk had built up.
Lippert pulled away a select group comprised mainly of the pre-race favourites as Marlen Reusser (Switzerland), Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands), Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy), Alena Amialiusik (Belarus), Marta Cavalli (Italy), Rasa Leleivyte (Lithuania), Kasia Niewiadoma (Poland) and Demi Vollering (Netherlands) were all present. Once the initial acceleration had passed, however, the pace dissipated from this group and the time gap to Van Dijk expanded back to a minute again.
With Paladin dropped, the chase fell to Italy who had two riders in this group and Longo Borghini sacrificed herself for her younger teammate Cavalli, peeling off, exhausted, ten kilometres from the finish.
On the steepest section of the last climb, Lippert attacked again, and the resulting acceleration more than halved the time gap to Van Dijk, who clung to just twenty seconds at the summit of the climb.
Once the climbing had finished, though, the course favoured Van Dijk due to her time-trialling abilities and the lack of cohesion within the chase group played into her favour..
As on the previous lap, her advantage ballooned to around a minute again as she rode to the finish in central Trento, and she eventually sealed victory by 1:18, celebrating happily after completing one of her best victories of her prestigious career.
1 Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands) 2:50:35
2 Liane Lippert (Germany) 0:01:18
3 Rasa Leleivyte (Lithuania)
4 Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Poland)
5 Demi Vollering (Netherlands)
6 Marta Cavalli (Italy)
7 Marlen Reusser (Switzerland)
8 Alena Amialiusik (Belarus)
9 Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) 0:01:21
10 Elisa Balsamo (Italy) 0:02:29
11 Lisa Brennauer (Germany)
12 Floortje Mackaij (Netherlands)
13 Eugenia Bujak (Slovenia)
14 Lotte Kopecky (Belgium)
15 Elise Chabbey (Switzerland)
16 Amy Pieters (Netherlands)
17 Riejanne Markus (Netherlands)
18 Juliette Labous (France)
19 Eider Merino Cortazar (Spain)
20 Kathrin Hammes (Germany)
21 Omer Shapira (Israel)
22 Katrine Aalerud (Norway)
23 Urška Žigart (Slovenia)
24 Erica Magnaldi (Italy) 0:02:44
25 Marta Lach (Poland) 0:04:19
26 Victorie Guilman (France)
27 Tamara Dronova (Russian Federation)
28 Hanna Nilsson (Sweden) 0:04:21
29 Mie Bjørndal Ottestad (Norway) 0:05:58
30 Corinna Lechner (Germany) 0:06:32
31 Susanne Andersen (Norway)
32 Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy) 0:07:10
DNF Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (Netherlands)
DNF Marianne Vos (Netherlands)
DNF Sofia Bertizzolo (Italy)
DNF Tatiana Guderzo (Italy)
DNF Soraya Paladin (Italy)
DNF Debora Silvestri (Italy)
DNF Trine Holmsgaard (Denmark)
DNF Marita Jensen (Denmark)
DNF Pernille Mathiesen (Denmark)
DNF Tanja Erath (Germany)
DNF Romy Kasper (Germany)
DNF Lisa Klein (Germany)
DNF Trixi Worrack (Germany)
DNF Valerie Demey (Belgium)
DNF Ann-Sophie Duyck (Belgium)
DNF Lone Meertens (Belgium)
DNF Sara van de Vel (Belgium)
DNF Julie van de Velde (Belgium)
DNF Fien van Eynde (Belgium)
DNF Jesse Vandenbulcke (Belgium)
DNF Malgorzata Jasinska (Poland)
DNF Karolina Karasiewicz (Poland)
DNF Aurela Nerlo (Poland)
DNF Anna Plichta (Poland)
DNF Dorota Przezak (Poland)
DNF Aude Biannic (France)
DNF Audrey Cordon Ragot (France)
DNF Eugénie Duval (France)
DNF Gladys Verhulst (France)
DNF Morgane Coston (France)
DNF Caroline Baur (Switzerland)
DNF Sandra Alonso Dominguez (Spain)
DNF Ziortza Isasi Cristobal (Spain)
DNF Eukene Larrarte Arteaga (Spain)
DNF Irene Mendez Melgarejo (Spain)
DNF Lourdes Oyarbide Jimenez (Spain)
DNF Gloria Rodriguez Sanchez (Spain)
DNF Ingvild Gåskjenn (Norway)
DNF Ingrid Lorvik (Norway)
DNF Tatiana Antoshina (Russian Federation)
DNF Anastasiia Chursina (Russian Federation)
DNF Seda Krylova (Russian Federation)
DNF Margarita Syradoeva (Russian Federation)
DNF Sarah Rijkes (Austria)
DNF Christina Schweinberger (Austria)
DNF Angelika Tazreiter (Austria)
DNF Nathalie Eklund (Sweden)
DNF Urska Bravec (Slovenia)
DNF Yuliia Biriukova (Ukraine)
DNF Valeriya Kononenko (Ukraine)
DNF Olena Sharga (Ukraine)
DNF Olga Shekel (Ukraine)
DNF Ganna Solovei (Ukraine)
DNF Olivija Baleišyte (Lithuania)
DNF Inga Ešulien (Lithuania)
DNF Viktorija Senkut (Lithuania)
DNF Szabó Zsófia
DNF Bajgerová Nikola
DNF Machaová Jarmila
DNF Nikola Noskova (Czech Republic)
DNF Rotem Gafinovitz (Israel)
DNF Lija Laizane (Latvia)
DNF Tereza Medvedova (Slovakia)
DNF Megan Armitage (Ireland)
DNF Ellen McDermott (Ireland)
DNF Silja Jóhannesdóttir (Iceland)
DNF Hafdís Sigurðardóttir (Iceland)
DNF Manuela Muresan (Romania)
DNF Georgeta Ungureanu (Romania)
DNF Varvara Fasoi (Greece)