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Jolien D’hoore wins again in Energiewacht Tour Stage One

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Jolien D’hoore continued her incredible streak of form with another victory, in the first stage of the Energiewacht Tour, between Wedde and Ter Apel in the north eastern Netherlands province of Groningen. The Belgian Champion was first to the line at the end of the 109.2km stage, with a late burst of speed, beating the Velocio-SRAM duo of Barbara Guarischi and Trixi Worrack into second and third.

“The last corner was 150 metres from the finish, and I came into the last corner in sixth or seventh position or something,” D’hoore explained. “So yeah, I thought ‘my sprint is over! This is too late!’ But then a gap opened up on the right side and I thought ‘I’m going to give it a go, and I’m going to try if it’s possible,’ and yeah, I won!”

The stage was made up of a twisting 53.6km loop across the Groningen province, followed by four laps of a 13.9km finishing circuit. The strong winds that usually characterise the Energiewacht Tour were absent and, with little else in the way of obstacles, the peloton stayed largely together for the whole day.

The race was characterised by a two-rider break from Marijn de Vries (Parkhotel Valkenberg) and Winanda Spoor (Jan van Arckel), who escaped almost immediately and were able to build a lead of more than two minutes. With so many top sprinters in the peloton, however, the breakaway stood little chance of making it to the finish. Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Amy Roberts counterattacked midway through the stage, along with Sara Mustonen (Liv-Plantur), to put pressure on the other teams to chase.

“The weather was really nice, about 15 degrees, and no wind,” D’hoore said. “So that means it’s very dangerous riding. There was not much happening in the bunch. Nobody wanted to go and close the gap – because there were two girls in front – but no one wanted to ride, and it was a bit boring sometimes!”

De Vries and Spoor were finally caught with just a few kilometres left, whereupon the teams of the sprinters began to organise themselves for the finish. Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Chloe Hosking led into the final corner and, although Guarischi was the first to launch her sprint, D’hoore was able to ease past the Italian to take the stage by almost a bike length.

“Amy was given the job of staying in front of the bunch, and to go in an attack if it was possible, and she did a really great job,” D’hoore explained. “Today she was really amazing; she stayed in front the whole time and she even got in an attack; yeah, she did a really great job.

“At about 10km to go Velocio started to ride – they were in a formation – and they did a really good job for Guarischi, so we caught the two riders with 4km to go or something. Chloe and me stayed in the wheel of Velocio – also Rabobank and Boels were there – but then Chloe did a really good job again. She kept me in front until the last corner.”

A ten-second time bonus on the line puts D’hoore on the same time as prologue winner Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv) but the Dutch rider retains the yellow jersey by fractions of a second. With a team time trial tomorrow morning though, the Belgian champion does not expect to take the race lead, but will be chasing more single day success later in the week.

“The main goal was to take a stage win, not to go for GC, because we are just five riders and that makes it difficult,” she explained. “Also, a lot of teams like Velocio and Rabobank have already had a training camp for the TTT.

“It’s not getting windy or anything, the weather forecast looks really nice: 15 degrees and no wind, so that’s too bad!” D’hoore laughed. “First we have to do the TTT, and then we’ll see what the GC looks like, but probably we’ll go for another stage win.”

1. Jolien D’hoore (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)

2. Barbara Guarischi (Velocio-SRAM)
3. Trixi Worrack (Velocio-SRAM)

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