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World Championships: Chantal Blaak wins Women's Road Race thanks to solo attack

Jack Elton-Walters
23 Sep 2017

Chantal Blaak went clear to win, and continued the Dutch domination of the World Championships

Chantal Blaak (NED) took a storming victory in the Women's Road Race at the UCI World Championships. The Dutchwoman went clear with around 6km left to race and the chase group never got close to bringing her back.

Behind the winner, the chase group were caught by the peloton as a result of sitting up and looking at each other.

Katrin Garfoot (AUS) was the only member of the lead group from which Blaak launched to gain a medal by crossing the line to take silver.

Defending champion Amalie Dideriksen (DEN), who we had not really seen in teh closing stages of the race, popped up to take the bronze.

Blaak had been in a number of moves during the day and also went down in a crash.

Women's Road Race: How it happened

With 35km remaining Great Britain's Dani King stamped on the pedals and soon had a gap over the peloton. Shortly before this, the 69 riders left in the peloton were all together having completed six laps of the Bergen circuit.

Three-time winner Marianne Vos tried to go with the move but could not get King's wheel.

Three chaser - Amanda Spratt (AUS), Elise Delzenne (FRA) and Janneke Ensing (NED) were able to catch King and she moved to the back of the group. The quartet, began working together before they were joined by Swedish climber Hanna Nilsson who had to fight to make it across.

On the ascent of Salmon Hill, Anna van der Breggen (NED) pushed on and splintered the peloton. She was joined by a select group including her teammate Annemiek van Vleuten and former World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (FRA).

The second group joined with the first just as they crested the summit of the climb and from there it looked like the winner would come from this enlarged group.

However, they all started looking at each other before King took to the front to drive the pace.

The next rider across the gap was Lizzie Deignan (GBR) who saw the danger of the group ahead and wasn't going to be left behind, at least not this far from the finish line.

The group settled down with 13 riders, including three Dutch, and the pace slowed. Over the cobbled section and with 23.3km to go the remainder of the peloton got back in touch with the strong lead group.

Immediately, Blaak launced and was chased by Audrey Cordon (FRA) and Hannah Barnes (GBR).

The trio pulled out a gap before Australia took charge of the chase. With no one working, Sarah Roy (AUS) pushed on alone in the hope of joining the leaders.

The USA took up the pace making in the hope of bringing it all back together for Tour of Flanders winner Coryn Rivera. King marked the front of the peloton, but without contributing to the chase as her teammate was away.

The final ascent of Salmon Hill in sight, and with the leaders now 39 seconds ahead, the Dutch riders still in the peloton massed at the front, upped the pace and shelled riders out the back.

Deignan was one of those seen suffering on the climb and her race looked to be over.

Kasia Niewiadoma (POL) launched up the fish-honouring climb and was joined on the upper slopes by the podium of the TT from earlier in the week: van Vleuten, van der Breggen and Garfoot.

Once the catch was made, the Barnes trio was able to stay with the faster moving group that had just bridged over and formed a lead group of seven.

Dipping under 10km to go, the gap was measured as 45 seconds with all eyes on the Dutch who counted three riders in the front group.

First to test the others' legs was van Vleuten but it was soon closed down. Blaak went next and the orange-clad riders started to make their numerical advantage count.

Just behind was a chasing quartet who still held hopes of a medal.

Barnes took to the front but Garfoot and Niewiadoma just looked around and wouldn't contribute to bringing Blaak back. Barnes went again but could not get clear.

Niewiadoma, who looked to have already settled for racing to a silver medal at best, was the next to launch and that move saw Barnes and Cordon go out the back but a lull in the pace allowed them to regain contact.

The shambolic chase saw Blaak's lead go out to 35 seconds with 1km to go.