The runner-up in 2013, van Dijk goes it alone more than 25km from the finish and builds an insurmountable lead
Ellen van Dijk (Boels Dolmans) won the 11th edition of the women’s Tour of Flanders on Sunday.
Van Dijk soloed to victory in the 139.6km race, the third round of the UCI women’s World Cup, ahead of teammate and series leader Elizabeth Armitstead and Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS).
“It was our team tactics played out to perfection. I would go first and we would have Lizzie (Armitstead) behind me. It was from the book,” said van Dijk.
Added Armitstead: “Ellen worked hard for me in the previous races. That’s the beauty of this sport. We are a team. I was really emotional when she won.”
The runner-up behind Marianne Vos in 2013, van Dijk attacked on the Kruisberg, padded her lead on the final ascent of the Paterberg, and built an advantage of more than a minute by the time she rolled under the red kite, which allowed her plenty of time to enjoy the victory.
“It hurt, but when with a few kilometers to go I had a tailwind I knew I could win. And if you know your teammate is behind you, you can go just a little bit faster,” said van Dijk.
Armitstead and Johansson fought the battle for second just two seconds ahead of the bunch, led in by Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitech Products).
“Those last kilometers were really hard,” said van Dijk. “I still can’t believe I did it. I wanted to win three races in my career: the world title, the Tour of Flanders and the Olympics. Now only one remains.”
Armitstead retains her overall lead in the World Cup.