Everything made us think before the race that a sprint would decide the name of the new European junior champion. And in a massive sprint, Lorena Wiebes was the top favorite. Winner of the Healthy Ageing Tour (plus two stages), Trofeo da Moreno and a stage in Borsele, the Dutch rider knew what to expect in a race like this. And she didn’t dissapoint, as in the sprint she beat Denmark’s Emma Norsgaard and Italy’s Letizia Paternoster, the only riders who theoretically could have beaten her.
In spite of what we could think in a flat course like this, the race was not boring at all. From the very first beggining we saw interesting thinks, although some of them were crashes. Nothing special happened in the first of the three 20-kilometer laps, but with 35 kilometers to go the movements started.
The first rider to attack was time trial champion Elena Pirrone (Italy), who got a maximum gap of only 15 seconds. She was quickly caught by the bunch, where the Dutch national team set the pace. Two more Italians plus a Russian counterattacked and it was again a Dutch rider who bridged across the two groups: Lorena Wiebes.
Next move was a Belgian one. Shari Bossuyt attacked solo and the Italian riders started to chase her, catching her before the bell rang. A short calm period came to the bunch with only one lap to go, in which there were several crashes.
None of them affected the top favorites, but the bunch split when Pirrone (Italy), Norbert (France) and Mekhtieva (Russia) were in the front with some seconds over the rest of the riders. De Ruiter (Netherlands) closed the gap and with 2 kilometers to go it was the Italian national team the one pullin in the front of the peloton, preparing the sprint for their fastest rider: Paternoster.
But she couldn’t beat Lorena Wiebes. The Dutch rider was the first to start sprinting, but her maximum speed lasted long and got a deserved gold medal ahead of local idol Emma Norsgaard and Paternoster. The best Spanish rider in the finish line was Sofía Rodríguez, who came in 9th.