Energiewacht Tour

Stage 1

Kirsten Wild (image credit: Giant-Shimano)

Kirsten Wild – the greatest sprinter in the history of women’s cycling? (image credit: Giant-Shimano)

Taking part in one of the flattest parts of a famously flat country, the stages of the Energiewacht Tour tend more often than not to end with a bunch sprint – and the bunch is usually pretty sizable, as was the case with the first stage this year when no fewer than 83 riders finished in the first group and recorded times equal to the winner.

If a bunch sprint includes Kirsten Wild (Giant-Shimano), it certainly seems more often than not she’ll be the winner – the 31-year-old from Almelo can generate the sort of peak wattages that’d probably power a reasonably-sized town for a few days, and there’s virtually no other rider in today’s peloton who can beat her head-to-head to the line. One who can, though, is Britain’s Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans): six years younger than Wild, Armitstead seems to have found the best form of her life this season and matched Wild’s performance – it would only have taken the slightest mistake by the Dutchwoman for the outcome to have been very different, and in a similar contest one year hence when Lizzie’s reached the age at which most cyclists enter their best years Wild may well be playing second fiddle.

With bonification points, Wild moved into the top position in the General Classification while Armitstead was second overall at +5″. Jolien D’Hoore of Lotto-Belisol was third on the stage, putting her third overall at +9″.

Stage 1 Top Ten
1 Kirsten WILD (Giant-Shimano) 2h16’10”
2 Lizzie ARMITSTEAD (Boels-Dolmans) ST
3 Jolien D’HOORE (Lotto-Belisol) ST
4 Barbara GUARISCHI (Ale-Cipollini) ST
5 Gracie ELVIN (Orica-AIS) ST
6 Thalita DE JONG (Rabobank-Liv) ST
7 Martina ZWICK (Bigla) ST
8 Emilie MOBERG (Norway NT) ST
9 Marta TAGLIAFERRO (Ale-Cipollini) ST
10 Roxane FOURNIER (France NT) ST
Full result and GC

Stage 2

Kirsten Wild (Giant-Shimano) did it again in the second stage, leading a group of 29 riders over the line. Barbara Guarischi (Ale-Cipollini) was second, just pipping Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) to the post while Jolien D’Hoore (Lotto-Belisol) was fourth.

Following bonification, Wild’s overall advantage doubled to 10″. Armistead remains second, while Guarischi moved into third at +19″.

Stage 2 Top Ten
1 Kirsten WILD (Giant-Shimano) 2h47’28”
2 Barbara GUARISCHI (Ale-Cipollini) ST
3 Lizzie ARMITSTEAD (Boels-Dolmans) ST
4 Jolien D’HOORE (Lotto-Belisol) ST
5 Elena CECCHINI (Estada de Mexico-Faren) ST
6 Martina ZWICK (Bigla) ST
7 Aurore VERHOEVEN (France NT) ST
8 Kim DE BAAT (Parkhotel Valkenburg) ST
9 Gracie ELVIN (Orica-AIS) ST
10 Lotta LEPISTÖ (Bigla) ST
Full result and GC

Stage 3a

Vera Koedooder's stage win was spectacular (image credit: Vera Koedooder)

Vera Koedooder’s stage win was spectacular (image credit: Vera Koedooder)

As we’ve already seen, the Energiewacht Tour sees more than its fair share of bunch sprint finishes. Once in a while, though, a rider decides she’s going to shake things up a bit and go for a spectacular win – which is precisely what Vera Koedooder of Bigla did on the third stage: a solo attempt was a massive gamble but it paid off she she won by an incredible 2’22”, sufficient to put herself at the top of the General Classification with an advantage over previous leader Kirsten Wild (Giant-Shimano; ninth on the stage) of 1’09”. Chloe McGonville (Australia NT) was half of a two-rider break that went after Koedooder: they never caught her, but McGonville stayed out in front and managed second place at +2’22”. Sadly, it made little difference to her overall chances – she’s 85th overall at +11’11”. Trixi Worrack (Specialized-Lululemon) headed the first group over the line, finishing 3’02” behind Koedooder.

The stage did not do so well for Lizzie Armitstead – the British rider from Boels-Dolmans, who had been second overall, was one of several riders involved in a crash 3.1km from the end of the stage and finished in 131st place at +3’43”; she drops to 28th place overall at +2’01”. Barbara Guarischi (Ale-Cipollini) remains third, her disadvantage now standing at 1’29”.

Stage 3a Top Ten
1 Vera KOEDOODER (Bigla) 2h24’52”
2 Chloe MCCONVILLE +2’22”
3 Trixi WORRACK (Specialized-Lululemon) +3’02”
4 Barbara GUARISCHI (Ale-Cipollini) ST
5 Marta TAGLIAFERRO (Ale-Cipollini) ST
6 Roxane FOURNIER (France NT) ST
7 Carmen SMALL (Specialized-Lululemon) ST
8 Emilie MOBERG (Norway NT) ST
9 Kirsten WILD (Giant-Shimano) ST
10 Eline Gleditsch BRUSTAD (Norway NT) ST
Full result and GC

Stage 3b

Stage 3b was a team time trial – so who do you think won? Specialized-Lululemon have dominated the TTTs at virtually every race in which they’ve participated for the last two seasons and it looks like they plan to do the same in 2014, beating Boels-Dolmans by 7″. Rabo-Liv were third at +7″; Lululemon’s arch TTT rivals Orica-AIS fourth at +16″. Vera Koedooder’s Bigla finished 11th at 1’09”, slashing her overall advantage to 31″; Trixi Worrack of Lululemon is now second overall at +31″ and her team mate Lisa Brannauer is third at +33″

Stage 3b Top Ten
1 Specialized-Lululemon 19’22”
2 Boels-Dolmans +7″
3 Rabobank-Liv +14″
4 Orica-AIS +16″
5 Giant-Shimano +33″
6 RusVelo +34″
7 Lotto-Belisol +43″
8 Wiggle-Honda +46″
9 Parkhotel Valkenburg +55″
10 Ale-Cipollini +58″
Full result and GC

Stage 4

They say fortune favours the brave, and Vera Koedooder showed us with her amazing performance in Stage 3a that sometimes it really does – but when Lucinda Brand (Rabo-Liv) attacked a seventeen-strong lead group with 25km to go on the 137.6km Stage 4 parcours, even she thought it was a kansloze missie – a hopeless mission.

The chase group never really got it together to go after her, a factor due in no small part to the presence of her team mates Annemiek van Vleuten, Thalita de Jong and Roxane Knetemann who were all in it. However, Specialized-Lululemon also had three in the group, and Boels-Dolmans and Giant-Shimano had two apeice: it would probably have been possible to organise and catch Brand, especially as she was fighting the wind alone. Yet, it never happened; Brand stayed away, and she won the stage by 1’09” – sufficient to knock previous overall leader Koedooder into second place with a disadvantage of 32″.

Jolien D’Hoore (Lotto-Belisol), who has been having an excellent race, led the chase group for second place.

Lululemon’s Trixi Worrack is third overall at +1’01”. British rider Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans), who lost significant time after being caught up in a crash in Stage 3a, came third on the stage and moved up the General Classification but lost more time – she started the stage in twelfth place at +1’06” and finished tenth overall at +1’34”.

Stage 4 Top Ten
1 Lucinda BRAND (Rabo-Liv) 3h33’42”
2 Jolien D’HOORE (Lotto-Belisol) +1’09”
3 Elizabeth ARMITSTEAD (Boels-Dolmans) ST
4 Trixi WORRACK (Specialized-Lululemon) ST
5 Barbara GUARISCHI (Ale-Cipollini) ST
6 Elena CECCHINI (Estada de Mexico-Faren) ST
7 Kirsten WILD (Giant-Shimano) ST
8 Ellen VAN DIJK (Boels-Dolmans) ST
9 Lisa BRENNAUER (Specialized-Lululemon) ST
10 Annemiek VAN VLEUTEN (Rabo-Liv) ST
Full result and GC

Stage 5

With a lead group of eight riders dominating the latter part of 104.7km Stage 5, it seemed the 2014 edition of the Energiewacht Tour was destined to end with a bunch sprint. Loes Gunnewijk (Orica-AIS), though, had other ideas; believing herself to be the strongest in the group, she attacked some way out from the finish line. Chantal Blaak went with her and turned out to have a surprise up the sleeve of her Specialized-Lululemon jersey – just when it seemed certain that Gunnewijk was going to win, with the other six from the lead group now safely behind, Blaak took control and blasted past to take victory by 1″.


2014 winner Lucinda Brand of Rabo-Liv (image: Sander.v.Ginkel CC BY-SA 3.0)

Thalita de Jong was third at +24″, while racel leader Lucinda Brand (Rabo-Liv) was 15th at +1’17” – enough to increase her General Classification advantage from +32″ to +37″ and take the overall victory. Vera Koedooder (Bigla) finished right back in 32nd place at +1’22”, but hung onto second place overall. Trixi Worrack (Specialized-Lululemon) was 11th at +1’17” and thus remained third overall at +1’01”.

Lizzie Armitstead, who began the day in tenth place overall with a disadvantage of +1’34”, finished the stage in 49th place at +1’22”; she therefore dropped from tenth overall with +1’34” to 13th with +1’39” but remains the most successful British rider. Laura Trott of Wiggle-Honda was second most successful Brit with 8oth place at +15’40”; Eileen Roe (Great Britain NT) third at 85th with +19’14”;  Ann Ewing fourth at 95th with +25′; Lucy Coldwell fifth at 99th with +25’29”; Claire Thomas (Great Britain NT) sixth at 104th with +26’32”; Julie Erskine (Great Britain NT) seventh at 112th with +30’19” and Jane Barr (Great Britain NT) eighth at 118th with +34’28”.

Stage 5 Top Ten
1 Chantal BLAAK (Specialized-Lululemon) 2h43’41”
2 Loes GUNNEWIJK (Orica-AIS) +01″
3 Thalita DE JONG (Rabo-Liv) +24″
4 Sara MUSTONEN (Giant-Shimano) ST
5 Barbara GUARISCHI (Ale-Cipollini) ST
6 Liesbet DE VOCHT (Lotto-Belisol) ST
7 Elena CECCHINI (Estada de Mexico-Faren) +26″
8 Romy KASPER (Boels-Dolmans) ST
9 Kirsten WILD (Giant-Shimano) +1’15”
10 Jolien D’HOORE (Lotto-Belisol) ST
Full result and GC

Points: 1 Kirsten WILD (Giant-Shimano) 73; 2 Barbara GUARISCHI (Ale-Cipollini) 72; Jolien D’HOORE (Lotto-Belisol) 56.
Sprints: 1 Marta TAGLIAFERRO (Ale-Cipollini) 15; 2 Thalita DE JONG (Rabo-Liv) 4; 3 Chantal BLAAK (Specialized-Lululemon) 3.
Youth: 1 Thalita DE JONG (Rabo-Liv) 14h12’03”; 2 Elena CECCHINI (Estada de Mexico-Faren) ST; 3 Eugénie DUVAL (France NT) +2’20”.