VAGARDA, Sweden (VN) — Iris Slappendel (Rabobank) won the Open de Suède on Sunday, outsprinting Hanka Kupernagel (Rusvelo) to claim her first victory in the women’s World Cup series.
Series leader Marianne Vos (Rabobank) rounded out the podium in third, a minute and 10 seconds later.
Slappendel broke away on the third of 12 laps in the 132km race, the seventh in the series. Joined by six other riders, among them Kupfernagel, the group quickly built an advantage.
A lap later, Vos bridged to the leaders, and the field never saw them again.
With three laps remaining Slappendel tried to go it alone, taking a gap of 28 seconds at one point before being brought back. After attacks and counterattacks the Rabobank rider finally got away again, this time with only Kupfernagel for company.
The two battled all the way to the end, and as they hit the finishing straight Slappendel led out the sprint and beat Kupfernagel by a couple of bike lengths.
Vos won the group sprint and with it, took enough points to clinch the World Cup overall with one race remaining.
“Nice! Amazing! I can’t believe it!” said Slappendel. “When we had 40 seconds. I thought, ‘Okay, they will look to each other and to Marianne, maybe I can make it. I felt so good all day.”
As for Vos, she said the team’s main goal in Vagarda was not to clinch the World Cup.
“We wanted to go for the win here in Vargarda,” she said. “But of course it is great to already have the win and to go next week to Plouay with some confidence and with the jersey already.”
The final round of the 2012 World Cup is the GP de Plouay August 24 in Bretagne, France.