Van Dijk’s es­cape to vic­tory

Procycling - - DEBRIEF -

Gior­gia Bronzini re­ceived the con­grat­u­la­tions of an ad­mir­ing pelo­ton when she won the se­cond of the two stages of the Madrid Chal­lenge. At the end of a 15-year ca­reer, it was the two-time world cham­pion’s fi­nal race be­fore she be­comes a di­recteur sportif at the Trek Fac­tory Rac­ing women’s team in 2019. Af­ter win­ning the sprint from a 17-strong group – she was one of the fi­nal rid­ers to board the get­away train ini­tially driven by her team-mate Ros­sella Ratto – she said, “Many of my op­po­nents were happy for me and con­grat­u­lated me, and that makes me happy be­cause it means that I’ve left my mark in a good way.”

Bronzini stole the head­lines with a pop­u­lar vic­tory, but the over­all win went to Ellen van Dijk, a rider en­ter­ing a pe­riod of change as well. It was one of her fi­nal races for Sun­web be­fore she too joins Trek. This year’s Madrid Chal­lenge was split over two days. It started with a tech­ni­cal 12.6km team time trial of­fer­ing a chance to test run­ning or­ders ahead of the Worlds TTT in Inns­bruck. Sun­web un­der­lined their dom­i­nance with an 18-se­cond win over Wig­gle- High5. Leah Kirch­mann led Sun­web over the line first and wore the first pur­ple jersey of race leader.

The se­cond stage was con­tested on the same 5.8km city cir­cuit that is the men’s fi­nale to the Vuelta a Es­paña. On al­ter­nat­ing laps, bonuses of five, two and one sec­onds were avail­able. But when Ratto drew 18 more rid­ers into a break that was made up of ones and twos from each team, but which lacked the top sprint­ers, the race was open. Au­drey Cor­don-Ragot be­gan an ag­gres­sive pur­suit of the bonus sec­onds, but was matched all the way by Van Dijk, who, by dint of Sun­web’s TTT per­for­mance be­came the vir­tual race leader.

The group held off the pelo­ton, just, leav­ing Bronzini free to con­test the sprint, 13 sec­onds ahead of the chasers be­hind. Hon­ours may have gone to Van Dijk, but the day be­longed to the re­tir­ing Bronzini.

Van Dijk se­cures her irst World­Tour win of the year at the Madrid Chal­lenge

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