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Demi Vollering took victory at Brabantse Pijl 10 days ago, but the Dutch rider has had to settle for three podium places in the three major Ardennes races of Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
“I’ve done a lot of races and got the podium, so I really wanted to have a win in my pocket already in the big races,” Vollering told CyclingPro.net at the finish in Liège. “I won in Brabantse Pijl, but this was also really a goal for me, to take this win home again. But today it was not possible.”
Despite not taking victory, Vollering praised her team’s efforts and put their result down to there being a stronger rider on the day.
“It was a really hard day,” she said. “The team did a great job with Marlen already out in the first group, which meant that Marlen could stay on with Annemiek, otherwise we would already have a big problem earlier. But Marlen did a really great job, the whole team was really good today again, and also in the end. I think as a team we did a great job, but Annemiek was just too strong today.”
Though it didn’t deliver on the win, the team’s efforts did not go unnoticed and made the day harder for eventual winner Van Vleuten. A high pace from Moolman-Pasio made it a hard start to La Redoute climb, and with Reusser stuck to her wheel over the top, Van Vleuten’s first move was thwarted.
“You need some guts to go from the bottom and just have confidence that you can drop them, which is not easy when after La Redoute you’re again with SD Worx and they don’t want to ride. Nothing to say about that, it’s good tactics from them, but it’s hard,” Van Vleuten said at the finish.
As well as an impressive ride from Reusser, Moolman-Pasio put in a strong performance to both make the race hard and attempt to chase down Van Vleuten, but ultimately SD Worx’s efforts came up short.
“Marlen was incredible, how she represented SD Worx in the front with Annemiek,” Moolman-Pasio said of her teammate. “It all came back together and then as we know, on the last climb, that’s always the hardest part. I did my best to follow but Annemiek was just too strong over the top. Demi and I worked really well together to try to bring it back and to go for the win for SD Worx. And in the end, we finished third but I think we can be really proud of our team effort.”
They may be coming away from the Ardennes winless, but with several strong performances and five wins already this season, the team seems confident ahead of the next part of the calendar.
“It was a really good spring for our team, the whole team was really strong,” Vollering said. “So, it’s a good start for the rest of the season.”