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European championships: Ellen van Dijk goes solo to score road race title

Dutch TT ace van Dijk rides solo from 26km out after forcing three-rider selection midway through race.

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Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands) went one better than she did earlier in the week to win the European road race title Saturday, just days after placing second in the time trial.

Van Dijk had forced the selection of four riders at 60km to go in the Italian race and methodically rode her rivals off her wheel to win her first European road race title after four times winning the continental TT.

“I can’t believe it. Lately I’ve mainly been busy with the time trial and suddenly I’m European champion on the road,” she said after taking victory by over one minute.

“I can wear this jersey for a whole year now. Until the last lap, I didn’t think for a second that I could win. I don’t know what to say.”

Lianne Lippert (Germany) won the sprint for second, followed by Rasa Leleivyte (Lithuania), who finished third. Marlen Reusser (Switzerland) placed seventh after beating Trek-Segafredo rider van Dijk in the time trial Thursday.

Many had expected the Dutch team to play a major part in the race, but Annemiek van Vleuten and Demi Vollering were the riders catching the headlines ahead of Saturday’s championships.

The orange-clad squad controlled the front half of the race alongside the Italian and German teams before van Dijk made her move at 60km to go. Soraya Paladin (Italy), Romy Kasper (Germany) and Aude Biannic (France) followed the 34-year-old who put the motor into the escape group’s efforts, which soon pulled out a 40 second lead as the Dutch team controlled behind.

Biannic dropped out of the move early on before the prolific time trialist van Dijk began to dial up the pressure. Kasper faded first at around 30km to go, and Paladin was dislodged by van Dijk’s surge shortly afterward.

Behind van Dijk, the peloton shattered under attacks from Lippert, Kasia Niewiadoma (Poland) and Italian pair Elisa Longo Borghini and Marta Cavalli. Longo Borghini did a huge turn for teammate Cavalli in attempting to bring back van Dijk in the final, but failed to make inroads into the flying Dutchwoman.

Van Dijk held her lead at around 50 seconds through the final half-hour of the race and rarely looked in danger of losing her grip on the gold medal. She hit the final cobblestone straight totally alone, leaving her time to sit up and take in the moment as she notched her first road-stage win since winning Dwars Door Vlaanderen in 2019.

Lippert and then Reusser attacked out of the power-packed chase group in the final 10km, but Vollering and van Vleuten marked out the moves for their teammate and the bunch of seven rode into Trento together ahead of the final sprint for the podium spots, won by Lippert.

European Continental Championships WE - Road Race Results

1VAN DIJK EllenNetherlands2:50:35
2LIPPERT LianeGermany1:18
3LELEIVYTĖ RasaLithuania1:18
4NIEWIADOMA KatarzynaPoland1:18
5VOLLERING DemiNetherlands1:18
6CAVALLI MartaItaly1:18
7REUSSER MarlenSwitzerland1:18
8AMIALIUSIK AlenaBelarus1:18
9VAN VLEUTEN AnnemiekNetherlands1:21
10BALSAMO ElisaItaly2:29
11BRENNAUER LisaGermany2:29
12MACKAIJ FloortjeNetherlands2:29
13BUJAK EugeniaSlovenia2:29
14KOPECKY LotteBelgium2:29
15CHABBEY EliseSwitzerland2:29
16PIETERS AmyNetherlands2:29
17MARKUS RiejanneNetherlands2:29
18LABOUS JulietteFrance2:29
19MERINO EiderSpain2:29
20HAMMES KathrinGermany2:29
21SHAPIRA OmerIsrael2:29
22AALERUD KatrineNorway2:29
23ŽIGART UrškaSlovenia2:29
24MAGNALDI EricaItaly2:44
25LACH MartaPoland4:19
26GUILMAN VictorieFrance4:19
28NILSSON HannaSweden4:21
29OTTESTAD Mie BjørndalNorway5:58
30LECHNER CorinnaGermany6:32
31ANDERSEN SusanneNorway6:32
32LONGO BORGHINI ElisaItaly7:10

Results provided by ProCyclingStats.