Alexis Ryan continued her incredible start to the season today when she sprinted to second place at Ronde van Drenthe in Hoogeveen, Netherlands. The CANYON//SRAM Racing rider almost clinched her second win in as many days, just falling short to overpower Amy Pieters (DLT) in the final metres of the Women’s WorldTour race.
After a rain-soaked day, minimal showing of the usual Dutch winds, and a late race diversion around two cobblestone sections, a large group approached the final hour of racing all together. With 40km to go a large crash saw Ryan, the team’s designated rider, and several teammates involved.
“I have never been so protected in a race before. Trixi (Worrack) and Lisa (Klein) were especially phenomenal. In the big crash, I was at the bottom of the dog pile. My bike was rideable and it was Lisa who brought me back to the next group where Alice (Barnes) and Christa (Riffel) worked so hard on the front to close the gap,” said Ryan directly after the finish.
“After they’ve worked so hard, Lisa was still there with me. I couldn’t believe how much she was pulling and brought me back to the front group. And Tiff (Cromwell) in the last part was so strong. When I made it back I’ve thought okay I have to give them something. I had to win or podium. I have goosebumps now just talking about it!” exclaimed Ryan.
Constant attacks and splits in the front of the peloton in the final kilometres soon followed and Ryan’s teammates continuously brought her back into position each time. In the final tailwind sprint Pieters started early and although Ryan looked like closing in, the young American ran out of metres before the line.
“At this moment I will say I’m second winner not first loser. Friday was my first international UCI win and two days later to podium in a WorldTour race. That’s huge, I’m so happy. I was tearing up a little bit when I crossed the line. This has really been a breakthrough season already for me so I cannot be happier,” an emotional Ryan told in an interview with journalist Felix Mattis after the finish.
“It was a really long sprint. We pretty much started from the corner. It was a tailwind so we couldn’t wait too long. Amy went probably with 300m or 350m to go and I launched not long after her. It was a drag race but I just couldn’t get her in the end, I didn’t have any more gears,” said Ryan.
In three race starts this season Ryan has finished second, first and second. “I’m just so happy and thankful to my teammates.”
The team will now return to Italy for the next round of the Women’s WorldTour at Trofeo Binda Cittiglio on Sunday 18 March.