5th prijs Stad Roeselare
Amber Neben HTC Highroad soles to victory for first one day classics win
Roeselare, Belgium, UCI 1.1 135 km
Amber Neben (HTC Highroad) won her first ever one day classics race in style at the 5th pirjs Stad Roeselare. In the bunch sprint for second, in form Emma Johansson (Hitec) outsprinted Adrie Visser (HTC Highroad).
The course started in Roeselare and travelled south west to complete two loops of the bergs that included the famous Kammelberg before heading back to Roeselare to complete two loops of the town.
Within 15km the first attack went. Esra Tropm (Skil-Koga) attacked. She was joined very quickly by Linda Ringlever (MovingLadies). The pair managed a small lead. Eventually though the peloton increased the pace sufficiently to bring the pair back at 37km.
The group were all together until they hit the foot of the first of the bergs at 39.9km. On the Schomminkelberg the pace was kept high by the main teams, HTC Highroad, Garmin Cervelo, AA Drink-Leontien and Nederland Bloeit. This caused some damage to the peloton and a number of riders dropped off the pace.
A leading group of 70 riders formed on the decent. They were chased hard by those who had been left on the climb and the majority of the peloton came back together.
The decisive damage was done the first time up the Kemmelberg climb. The climb was relatively short, at only 400m, it had a maximum of 22% gradient. Neben (HTC Highroad) kept the pace high and split the peloton. At the top of the climb, Emma Johansson (Hitec) was on the wheel of Neben. Canadian Joelle Numainville was in third wheel. 2010 winner of the GP Stad Roeselare, Kirsten Wild (AA Drink- Leontien.nl) was in 5th wheel.
On the decent, the affect of Neben's attack was being felt and a leading group of 39 riders formed that included all six HTC Highroad team members, three Hitec (Johansson, Sara Mustonen and Lisa Nostvold), three Garmin Cervelo (Armitstead, Laws and Jessie Daams), four Lotto Honda including Australian sprinter Rochelle Gilmore, Kirsten Wild had four other AA Drink-Leontien.nl riders with her. Local favourite, Grace Verbeke (Topsport Vlaaderen) had three team mates to support her. The Australian National team had two riders, Amanda Spratt and 2011 Oceania Road and TT champion, Shara Gillow. Nederland Bloeit were missing their team leader Marianne Vos. Sarah Duester, Loes Gunnewijk and Patricia Schwager made the break. Martin Bras (DolmansLandscaping), Andrea Bosman (Sram), Helen Wyman (Horizon), Tatiana Antoshina (Gauss), The group worked hard to keep the pace high and quickly increased their lead to over 1 minute.
Over the Kammelberg for the second time at 67.6km, Neben led the climb again with Armitstead on her wheel. On the decent, as the group reformed, the Australian, who this year became dual Oceania Road and Time trial champion, tried to attack but she crashed as her back wheel was shredded by the pedal of a rider. A quick bike change and she was back in the group. Gillow attacked again within 3km. She quickly gained a gap on the peloton. Gillow led for 25km with a maximum lead of 1 minute 30 seconds.
The chase started with and attack from Topsport Vlaanderen's Lieselot Decroix. HTC Highroad's Charlotte Becker chased and the pair had a small lead on the peloton. This attack caused a reaction from Garmin Cervelo and AA Drink-Leontien.nl. The peloton came back together again.
Very quickly, the lead of Gillow reduced and she was caught in Moorslede with 37km of racing left. A small group tried to counter attack. This was led by Sara Mustonen (Hitec). Neben was in the group with Antoshina. Armitstead led the chase and the group came back together. As the group came back, Neben counter attacked.
Initially Mustonen (Hitec) and Armitstead (Garmin Cervelo) started to chase and the gap crept down. They didn't really get much support from the other members of the group and Neben increased her lead. Neben quickly opened up the gap. She managed to stretch it out to 18 seconds as she crossed the finish line to start the final loop of Roeselare.
With 5km to go the gap was 55 seconds. At 3km to go, Duester and Antoshina tried to give chase but it was all too late. At the finish, Neben became the first American winner of the GP Stad Roeselare, 36 seconds ahead of . Swedish champion Emma Johansson (Hitek Products UCK) claimed the sprint for second over HTC Highroad's Adrie Visser .
Amber Neben (HTC Highroad) was a very humble winner and thanked her team for their support,
"When I got to five kilometers and I still had 45 seconds I thought I could stick it. A lot of people say 'ten seconds for every kilometer' so I figured it was going to be close, but I still had a little bit of energy and good rhythm," Neben added
"But you don't take anything for granted and I didn't want to celebrate until I saw the finish line." said Neben
Photos Click on any image to enlarge >>[2011_ChangedCopy/Gallery2011/04_Roeselare/PhotoIndex.html]
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