From Vleuten sprint to European title in road race, Blaak fourth

Annemiek van Vleuten became European champion on the road for the first time in her career. The 37-year-old cyclist was, as world champion dressed in the rainbow jersey, stronger in the sprint than the Italian Elisa Longo Borghini. Chantal Blaak had to settle for fourth place.

After eight laps of 13.7 kilometers around the French town of Plouay, four riders remained in a leading group. Polish riders Katarzyna Niewiadoma and Blaak had to break away on the Cรดte de Pont Neuf in the final kilometers. Niewiadoma finally took third place.

Halfway through the race the wheat was separated from the chaff and a large leading group was formed with seven of the eight Dutch competitors. Lorena Wiebes had already stepped down.

Counterattacks

Blaak seemed to have the best papers when the race seemed to turn out to be a sprint. Van Vleuten spoke to her encouragingly on several occasions, but finally took off with Longo Borghini at three kilometres from the finish.

In the beautiful final Blaak then joined forces with Niewiadoma after a first attack by Longo Borghini and Van Vleuten, but the second attack was too powerful for the world champion of 2017.

Van Vleuten became the fourth Dutch winner at the fifth European Championships. Anna van der Breggen (2016), Marianne Vos (2017) and Amy Pieters (2019) preceded her. In 2018, the Italian Marta Bastianelli was the odd duck in the bite.

Look below at the interviews with Annemiek van Vleuten and Chantal Blaak: