Going into any major road race, there are always pre race favourites. However, the wonder of bike racing is that ‘anything can happen’ – and in the final sprint of the Crescent Vårgårda road race, it happened for Emilia Fahlin (Ale Cipollini).
The Sweedish rider took the Women’s World Tour win in her home country, outsprinting Lotta Lepisto (Cervelo Bigla) and Chantal Blaak (Beols Dolmans).
The 141km road race featured some significant climbs, particularly on the long loop that the riders covered before returning for four circuits of the 11km finishing course. It was also characterised by several long gravel sections, which proved instrumental in forcing a break that the peloton was not able to pull back.
Early on in the race, Cervelo Bigla’s Nicole Hanselmann took the chance to attempt a solo breakaway, riding for 30km on her own. However, she was eventually caught, and as the riders approached the finishing circuit for a final four laps, Fahlin made her move.
With her were Amy Pieters (Wiggle High5), Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Lensworld-Zannata), Hannah Barnes (Canyon-SRAM), Amanda Spratt (Orica-AIS), Julia Soek (Liv-Plantur) and Shara Gillow (Rabo Liv).
With four laps to complete, the peloton allowed the gap to increase to two minutes. With a wide spread of teams represented in the break, many weren’t likely to react to chase down their hopeful team mates, and the dirt sections also contributed to a difficult chase for those who were motivated.
Approaching the finish, Fahlin made her move early, sprinting to the line before anyone could catch her, and taking a win that she’s described as one that “breaks the ice" – perhaps bolstering her confidence for future performances.
The top ten were:
|1||Emilia Fahlin (Swe) Alé Cipollini||3:35:31|
|2||Lotta Lepistö (Fin) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team|
|3||Chantal Blaak (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team|
|4||Amy Pieters (Ned) Wiggle High5|
|5||Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Lensworld-Zannata|
|6||Hannah Barnes (GBr) Canyon-SRAM|
|7||Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica-AIS|
|8||Julia Soek (Ned) Team Liv-Plantur|
|9||Shara Gillow (Aus) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team|
|10||Roxane Knetemann (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team||0:00:13|
See the full list of UCI WWT events here.