Ronde van Drenthe
Coederven - Hoogeveen - 9 April 2006 128km
It was warmer day for the riders today and sunny too. A heavy, but thankfully short lived rainshower, which was early in the stage, was the only precipitation seen during the stage.
With Loes Markerink (@Work) in yellow and a sizeable number of riders within 10 seconds of her, the racing was always going to be fast. The better weather helped the pace to be high from the start - the race was well ahead of schedule for the first 80km. There were plenty of breaks, including an attempt within the first 10 km by Buitenpoort which was quickly brought back. Olivia Gollan (Nobilli) managed to create a short gap later on as the race approached mid-distance, again this was not a race winning move. A group when a way on the climb and contained the riders who would eventually fight out the sprint. The race winners, though kept their cards close to their chests and didn't go away until the closing kilometres. With just 30 km to go, a group of three riders were a minute and a half ahead. These three were brought back, in the area of the final climb, this was the point at which Judith Arndt (T-Mobile) and Jo Kiesanowski (Univega) launched themselves off the front of the breakaway.
As Arndt and Kiesanowski approached the final two or 3 km, they were away by about 20 to 30 seconds. The pair clearly had enough speed to stay away and were able to participate in some cat-and-mouse tactics before winding the sprint up with about 75m to go. Arndt clearly clearly knew that she was beaten early on in the sprint and checked over her shoulder to ensure that second place was safe before rolling over the line, watching Kiesonowski celebrate ahead of her. Trixi Worrack (Equipe Nurnberger) and Kirsten Wild (AA Drink) contested the sprint for the second and third place. Worrack was clearly very determined, whilst Wild put up a good fight, but was easily beaten. Just behind them. Loes Markerink was grinding out the final few metres as quickly as her tired legs could take her. Seconds saved before the line meant that she protected and kept the leader's jersey. Markerink took the overall victory by just three seconds on Worrack.....
The win has been a long time coming for the Univega Pro Team. they have been on the podium so many times already this year. They seem to be in, or to police, or to chase every break. Jo Kiesanowski gave an indication of her form on Stage 1, when she was third. The victory today will be very sweet for her and the team.
Linda Villumsen (Buitenpoort) had another busy day. She was active again in the climbs competition, which she she won overall. Her efforts throughout the final stage of the race were also recognised with the award of the red most aggressive rider's jersey. Debbie Mansveld (Vlaanderen) retained the blue sprinter's jersey, Markerink took the young riders competition and Tanya Hennes (Buitenpoort), the points competition.
Results Top 10
General Classification Top 10
Photos - Click on any image to enlarge >>
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