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SD Worx strength in numbers thwarted at Amstel Gold Race

Dutch team races aggressively but Demi Vollering settles for runner-up for a second time

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Despite a strong showing throughout the day and once again having numbers in the finale, SD Worx came up short in the final stages of Amstel Gold Race.

A week on from Lotte Kopecky’s perfectly-executed Tour of Flanders victory, SD Worx was the team to watch at the start in Maastricht and didn’t shy away from imposing itself on the road with a series of attacks and chases.

In the finale, however, the team’s signature strength-in-numbers approach failed to pay off.

Both Demi Vollering and Ashleigh Moolman Pasio made the final selection, drawn out by Annemiek van Vleuten’s acceleration, but their presence was not enough to chase down a perfectly-timed attack from Marta Cavalli.

Second last year to Marianne Vos, Vollering outsprinted her fellow chasers to the line, but once again had to settle for second in Valkenburg.

“Overall, it was a really strong performance, but maybe in the end we lost a little bit of control,” Moolman Pasio said at the finish. “We were doing our absolute best, but sometimes you can only do the best that your legs can.”

Also read: Cavalli wins Amstel with solo Cauberg attack

Though the race came down to the final 2km climb, it was the culmination of an aggressive, attacking day, of which SD Worx was always at the heart of. The race’s first big move came with 70km when ten riders escaped, four of whom were SD Worx riders.

When van Vleuten split the leading group over the Keutenberg, SD Worx was again the only team with multiple riders in the front after Chantal van den Broek-Blaak joined Vollering in the lead.

In the run into the finish, it was Blanka Vas and Marlen Reusser who put in the bulk of the effort to chase down a late three-rider breakaway, and the race looked primed for a famous SD Worx display of dominance when they hit the Cauberg.

However, Moolman Pasio could not quite deliver Demi Vollering to the line.

“I came into the Cauberg maybe a little bit too far back,” Moolman Pasio explained. “It’s always a little bit difficult for the lighter riders to be well-placed coming in, but then I put in a really big surge to get to the front and to be able to follow Annemiek [van Vleuten]. Then as we came to the top, I suppose there was just a moment of hesitation [when Cavalli attacked].”

As the only team with more than one rider in the group, it was down to SD Worx to chase Cavalli, but the task proved too much for climber Moolman Pasio.

“That was a long lead-out for me!” she said. “Demi did well to come second.”

“Now we go to Brabantse Pijl and we try to make up for the mistakes,” she concluded.