Team Jumbo-Visma comes up just short in Strade Bianche Donne
Despite a fast opening stage and an admirable attack from Karlijn Swinkels, Team Jumbo-Visma Women could not play a significant role in the final of the Strade Bianche Donne. Riejanne Markus finished ninth.
The strategy before the start of the first Italian spring classic was to ride aggressively to maintain a lead over the favourites. The peloton, which kept together for a long time, was soon led by the riders of the yellow-black formation.
Swinkels attacked with more than 40 kilometres remaining. "That was the plan”, said the 24-year-old Jumbo-Visma Women rider. "Although it was not my intention to go to the front alone. It would take a lot of energy, so I hoped someone from behind would join me. I think it was a good attack. And it's the Strade Bianche, so it's better to be in the front here.”
With 30 kilometres to go, Swinkels had to let go of fellow escapee Kristen Faulkner. "Fortunately, I was in the chasing group for a while. Just before the crucial gravel part, I could drop off Riejanne.
"I couldn't do much better than ninth"
Riejanne Markus looked back with satisfaction. "We had everything under control for a long time. We rode very well. Karlijn was in front, and that's what we wanted. On the seventh gravel section, the race exploded. I had to leave a gap and ended up in the second chase group. In the last four kilometres, I could attack”, said the reigning Dutch champion. "I felt a little less fit today than I did last week. Yet with this position in the top ten, we may be satisfied. I couldn’t have done much better.”