No matter how good she was as a junior: it was a surprise that Amalie Dideriksen won the elite road race in the World Championships last year against the best sprinters of the world, being only 20. Such a huge win could act as a heavy burden for a young rider racing for the arguably best team in the peloton, but the Boels-Dolmans rider just showed today at Ronde van Drenthe what everybody knew – her performance in Doha was no fluke.
Dideriksen was the fastest from a breakaway of four strong riders that narrowly managed to keep a small gap to a chasing group of ten, culminating a brilliant showing by Boels-Dolmans, the team that had the advantage in numbers once the winning move set by Ellen van Dijk (Team Sunweb) created the definitive selection.
With a much reduced bunch after all the cobbled sections and two ascents to the VAMberg, Van Dijk attacked hard as they passed the manmade hill for the third and last time. She quickly created a gap that went up to 30 seconds, but even for a former time trial world champion it was going to be hard to keep it against four riders of her former team. Anna van der Breggen, Amy Pieters, Chantal Blaak and the impressive newcomer Jip van den Bos worked for the protected Boels-Dolmans rider of the day: Amalie Dideriksen.
They caught Van Dijk a few kilometres later. Then, a cat and mouse game started among the 14 riders who were in the winning move. There were lots of attacks, but eventually two of the smarter racers, Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) and Elena Cecchini (Canyon//SRAM) were followed by Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5) and Dideriksen herself into the final 20 km.
Marianne Vos (WM3 Pro Cycling) and Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott) tried to close the gap with the occasional help of other riders in the chasing group, but they never quite made it despite having the breakaway within sight all the time. It was only 7 seconds at the end, but that was not enough for the chasers. Brand tried it first into the finishing straigth but both Cecchini and then an impressive Dideriksen passed her before the line. Longo Borghini was 4th but kept the Women’s WorldTour jersey as a consolation prize.