Lorena Wiebes wins her fourth Ronde van Drenthe

Written by: ProCycling Women
Posted 1 month ago

Lorena Wiebes (Team SD Worx – Protime) secured her fourth consecutive win at the Ronde van Drenthe, cementing her status as a dominant force in the cycling world. This year’s edition saw the race conclude on the VAM berg, introducing a change to the finale that played to Wiebes’ strengths, allowing her to sprint to victory thanks to an outstanding lead-out by teammate Christine Majerus. This win not only highlights her dominance throughout the season with four victories but also establishes her as the undisputed record holder of this prestigious Dutch Women’s WorldTour event. Wiebes expressed her love for the race and praised her team’s strategy, saying, “My team set everything up perfectly, making it my job to finish it off,” reflecting on their flawless execution.

Wiebes proudly discussed her achievement, emphasizing the team’s concerted effort to clinch the win and acknowledging the wind’s role in creating a tense atmosphere within the peloton, which ultimately had less impact than expected. “Maintaining a lead position was key, especially on the VAM berg, to prevent any unexpected challenges,” she stated, underlining the strategic importance of peloton positioning.

The support from her team was crucial throughout the event, with Wiebes recognizing the threat posed by speedy competitors like Charlotte Kool and Elisa Balsamo. However, the unique challenge of the VAM berg’s finish set it apart from typical bunch sprints. “I concentrated on my lead-out. Christine Majerus set me up perfectly for the final sprint, and I managed to immediately pull ahead,” Wiebes recounted her strategy for maintaining an unbeaten streak in the Ronde van Drenthe since 2021.

Elisa Balsamo, who finished second, expressed satisfaction with her performance despite Wiebes’ superiority: “Today, Wiebes was the stronger, but I’m still pleased with how I performed,” the Italian champion remarked. She shared her aspirations to improve, especially in uphill sprints, and looked forward to competing in her home race, the Trofeo Binda in the Varese area.

Puck Pieterse, a young Dutch rider primarily known for cyclocross, demonstrated her adaptability and comfort within the road peloton: “I’m happy with my positioning today. It was risky at times, but that’s part of the fun,” she commented.

Valerie Demey, representing the Volker Wessels women’s team, was in a breakaway for the majority of the day but was caught just before the penultimate lap. Reflecting on her solo effort, she said, “I was hoping for some company in the breakaway, especially given the race’s chaotic start,” but she ultimately rejoined the peloton before the final stages.

How the race unfolded

The race narrative unfolded with the peloton leaving Beilen and facing the first climb of the Vamberg just 7 kilometers in, a challenge they would encounter six more times. The peloton remained cohesive initially, but crosswinds soon caused disarray, splitting the group into smaller factions. After regrouping, Valerie Demey launched an ambitious solo attack, hoping for others to join her. Despite varying leads, Demey maintained a strong pace, at one point extending her advantage to over two and a half minutes.

However, by the penultimate climb, Demey’s efforts were overtaken by the peloton’s pace, and she was absorbed back into the group, acknowledged for her valiant effort throughout the day.

As the race progressed to its final stages, the strategic significance of the VAM berg became apparent, with teams vying for position to support their sprinters. Despite the wind-induced challenges and the heightened tension, Wiebes’ team executed their strategy flawlessly, setting her up for a decisive sprint to victory. This triumph not only underscores her exceptional talent and her team’s strategic prowess but also affirms her position as one of the most formidable sprinters in women’s cycling, now with a historic win at the Ronde van Drenthe.

Share this article:
Download our App for:
© ProCycling Women 2024