12 March 2017 – Elena Cecchini yesterday sprinted to second place in the UCI Women’s WorldTour race, Ronde van Drenthe in the Netherlands. Cecchini instigated a four-rider move in the final kilometres that stayed away to the finish. The Italian road champion overtook Lucinda Brand (SUN) in the sprint, but couldn’t hold off current world road champion Amelie Dideriksen (DLT) for the victory.
Cecchini’s teammates were active throughout the race, and Mieke Kröger’s solo move after the fourth cobblestone sector allowed all six CANYON//SRAM riders to make it through the seven pave sectors still in the front group. With an average close to 40km/hour the peloton never took it easy throughout the 152km race.
“The weather was unusually warm and without enough wind to create echelons, but as usual the peloton was big and really nervous,” said Cecchini. “We were a bit unlucky cause Barbara (Guarischi) had a crash and she could have had an important role for the final. All the girls helped to bring me in a good position at the bottom of the VAMberg climb each time.”
“On the third and final time over the climb, van Dijk (SUN) attacked and it created a group where I realised it was only Hannah (Barnes) and myself there. We sat in and after van Dijk was caught I told Hannah we had to focus on some specific girls, because we could not follow every attack. And then suddenly I just said to myself ‘okay Elena, let’s try something.’
“My attack brought Brand, Longo Borghini (WHT) and Dideriksen with me. It was a good combination. I knew Dideriksen was the fastest, but I hoped she had tired legs as the race was so long today. I think I did the right moves in the final, Amelie (Dideriksen) was just faster than me.”
Cecchini, who’s thirteenth place at spring classics opener Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last month created her some frustration said that yesterday she had felt good. “I think in that first race I was missing the race speed because yesterday I felt good. I’m really looking forward to the next races and to finally put someone of us onto the top step of the podium.”
The team will race again today, in the UCI 1.2 Drentse Acht van Westerveld. With two cobblestone sectors and two ascents of the man-made VAMberg climb, another tough race is anticipated. Racing starts at 13:00 (CET).