Amy Pieters won the second stop of the Women's WorldTour on Sunday in Drenthe, the Netherlands over Alexis Ryan and Chloe Hosking.

Amy Pieters (Boels-Dolmans) won the Ronde van Drenthe on Sunday in the Netherlands. The race was the second stop on the Women’s WorldTour after Strade Bianche. Boels-Dolmans is undefeated in the series to begin 2018 after Anna van der Breggen won Strade Bianche last weekend.

“I won today, but I don’t think that I fully realize it yet,” said Pieters, who won silver in the Madison at the UCI World Track Championships last weekend. “I really wanted to win a big race at one point. I never managed to do so in recent years. I did have good races, but the victory wasn’t always there. I am very happy with the win today.”

“The final kilometers were chaotic. There was a crash in the last kilometer, just behind me. It was something I knew was going to happen because it was very hectic and sprinters don’t use their brakes in the final. It was unavoidable. I had to open my sprint early after that. I had to go from the last corner. I saw Alexis Ryan coming, but could accelerate a second time and kept on going.”

Although the temperatures were slightly higher than last weekend’s Strade Bianche, the riders faced terrible weather with the reduced peloton hardly recognizable at the finish. The 157-kilometer route included four ascents of the infamous VAM-berg and seven cobbled sections. Though a few of the cobbled sections were eventually removed for safety reasons.

A reduced bunch of around 40 riders came to the line with Pieters opening her sprint from a long way out. Alexis Ryan (Canyon-SRAM) came on strong and challenged Pieters, but the finish line proved to be just a bit too far. Chloe Hosing (Ale-Cipollini) finished third. Van der Breggen finished amongst the lead group and retained her spot atop the Women’s WorldTour rankings.

Top 10

For the second weekend in-a-row, the Women’s WorldTour faced horrendous conditions with rain and strong winds. The flat Drenthe landscape would provide plenty of crosswinds, making the race that much harder. The race would see multiple crashes and see 2016 Ronde van Drenthe champion and UCI World Road Champion Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) hit the deck. Blaak would never regain contact with the leaders. The race did not shine brightly on previous winners on Sunday, as Blaak’s teammate and defending champion Amalie Dideriksen suffered a puncture late in the race and lost contact with the front group.

Another favorite to begin the day, Lucinda Brand (Sunweb), also had a rough day. Brand had a mechanical in the opening hour of the race and then crashed twice. She abandoned the race after her second crash, but her team reported that she had no serious injuries.

During the race, organizers deemed the last two cobble sectors unsafe due to the heavy rain. This changed how the finale of the race would play out with the cobbled sectors ending farther from the finish than planned. This saw a 40-rider strong group coming to the line together. Boels-Dolmans and Team Sunweb both had multiple riders in the bunch and fought for control at the front of the peloton.

A crash inside the last kilometer disrupted the leadout and Pieters opted to begin her sprint to the line out of the final corner, which came about 300 meters from the line. Ryan came alongside Pieters and looked to have the strength to pass, but Pieters found the strength to hold Ryan off.

“At this moment I will say I’m the second winner and not first loser,” Ryan, who won the Drentse Acht van Westerveld on Friday, said. “Friday was my first international UCI win and two days later to podium in a WorldTour race. That’s huge, I’m so happy. I was tearing up a little bit when I crossed the line. This has really been a breakthrough season already for me so I cannot be happier.

“It was a really long sprint. We pretty much started from the corner. It was a tailwind, so we couldn’t wait too long. Amy went probably with 300 meters or 350 meters to go and I launched not long after her. It was a drag race but I just couldn’t get her in the end, I didn’t have any more gears. I’m just so happy and thankful to my teammates.”

Hosking rounded out the podium. Team Sunweb stacked the top 10 with three riders, but sixth place was the best that they could do and that went to Coryn Rivera.

The Women’s WorldTour continues on Sunday, March 18 with the Trofeo Alfredo Binda.

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