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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
|1||VAN DIJK Ellen||Netherlands||2:50:35|
|9||VAN VLEUTEN Annemiek||Netherlands||1:21|
|29||OTTESTAD Mie Bjørndal||Norway||5:58|
|32||LONGO BORGHINI Elisa||Italy||7:10|
Results provided by ProCyclingStats.