Lorena Wiebes kicks past Elisa Balsamo to score European title

Top-favorite Wiebes delivers for the Dutch in downtown Munich.

Photo: Getty Images

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Lorena Wiebes (Netherlands) fended off Elisa Balsamo (Italy) in a tight sprint to become European road race champion.

The peloton’s two top sprinters kicked together in the Munich final and threw their bikes in unison only for the Dutchwoman to score gold and succeed her teammate Ellen van Dijk.

Rachele Barbieri (Italy) came across third after she led out Balsamo. Home rider Lisa Brennauer narrowly missed the podium with fourth in what was her final race before retirement.

Wiebes – who rides for Team DSM and is set to join SD Worx – has risen to the front of the sprint scene in recent years.

More than a dozen 2022 victories including two at the Tour de France Femmes and now the European champs make the 23-year-old a woman to watch in the Wollongong worlds.

“As expected, the Italian train came up, they were on the left, we were on the right,” Wiebes said. “At the end I ended up next to them, it was a really long sprint.

“We really worked as a team today and we really showed we’re a team. We had a clear plan and the pressure was on, but normally it’s like that with DSM so it was kind of familiar, but maybe a bit more pressure.”

Wiebes gets a new jersey to wear for the next 12 months.

The European road race championship saw the sprinter teams under pressure all day.

Omer Shapira (Israel) started the first break of the day before Urška Žigart (Slovenia) jumped over.

The two spent some time out front but the powerful German and Dutch teams looked intent on making the race hard in the peloton and kept the gap slim.

Audrey Cordon Ragot (France) kicked away at 90km and Elena Cecchini (Italy) and Stine Borgli (Norway) jumped over. The trio clawed across to the two leaders to form five, but the bunch loomed close behind and the race came back together at around 70km.

Racing was relentless for the next lumpy 20km. France and Germany kept attacking while Italy and the Netherlands marked for Balsmo and Wiebes respectively.

The rhythm eventually settled as the fully assembled bunch ripped into the first of two pan-flat Munich circuits at 30km to go.

The Dutch team massed to the front as it looked to keep a lid on the attacks, only for Juliette Labous (France) to kick away at 18km. Lea Lin Teutenberg (Germany) and Sheyla Gutiérrez  (Spain) jumped across and the three inched clear.

The escape trio dangled just seconds ahead of the Dutch-powered peloton before defending champ Van Dijk brought the race together and the bunch hurtled toward the bunch sprint.

The Netherlands drilled the pace into the final deep in downtown Munich, and Italy came piling forward in the final 150 meters. Germany muscled up next but it all came down to Italy vs the Netherlands in the final straight.

The two sprint superteams assembled either side of the wide straight final and Italy moved first. Two riders led out for Balsamo as the Dutch train disintegrated. Wiebes and Lisa Brennauer (Germany) jumped onto Balsamo’s wheel just as Italy lit the final fuse.

Balsamo launched her sprint at 100 meters to go and Wiebes matched. It took two bike throws and a photo finish to decide before Wiebes was crowned champion.

European Continental Championships WE - Road Race Results

1WIEBES LorenaNetherlands2:59:20
2BALSAMO ElisaItaly0:00
3BARBIERI RacheleItaly0:00
4BRENNAUER LisaGermany0:00
5PIKULIK DariaPoland0:00
6MARTINS MariaPortugal0:00
7NORSGAARD EmmaDenmark0:00
8FAHLIN EmiliaSweden0:00
9VERHULST GladysFrance0:00
10SCHWEINBERGER ChristinaAustria0:00
11SKALNIAK-SÓJKA AgnieszkaPoland0:00
12LELEIVYTĖ RasaLithuania0:00
13CARBONARI AnastasiaLatvia0:00
14NEUMANOVA TerezaCzech Republic0:00
15ALONSO SandraSpain0:00
16MAJERUS ChristineLuxembourg0:00
17REUSSER MarlenSwitzerland0:00
18BUJAK EugeniaSlovenia0:00
19JASKULSKA MartaPoland0:00
20BAUR CarolineSwitzerland0:00
21LACH MartaPoland0:00
22KUMIEGA KarolinaPoland0:00
23KERN ŠpelaSlovenia0:00
24CANT SanneBelgium0:00
25OYARBIDE LourdesSpain0:00
26SCHREMPF CarinaAustria0:07
27SHAPIRA OmerIsrael0:10
28GAFINOVITZ RotemIsrael0:10
29SHARPE AliceIreland0:10
30MARTÍN SaraSpain0:10
31LIPPERT LianeGermany0:10
32SANGUINETI IlariaItaly0:10
33DUVAL EugénieFrance0:10
34GHEKIERE JustineBelgium0:10
35ANDERSEN SusanneNorway0:10
36DIDERIKSEN AmalieDenmark0:10
37VIGIE MargauxFrance0:10
38KASPER RomyGermany0:10
39NORMAN LETH JulieDenmark0:10
40ČEŠULIENĖ IngaLithuania0:16
41MACKAIJ FloortjeNetherlands0:18
42VAN DIJK EllenNetherlands0:18
43KOSTER AnouskaNetherlands0:18
44KOOL CharlotteNetherlands0:20
45CONFALONIERI Maria GiuliaItaly0:20
46FUCHS LeaSwitzerland0:20
47RIJKES SarahAustria0:22
48GUARISCHI BarbaraItaly0:24
49KRÖGER MiekeGermany0:24
50MARKUS RiejanneNetherlands0:24
51FIDANZA AriannaItaly0:31
52NILSSON HannaSweden0:31
53GÅSKJENN IngvildNorway0:31
54LABOUS JulietteFrance0:31
55CORDON-RAGOT AudreyFrance0:31
56BERTEAU VictoireFrance0:31
57GRÖNDAHL AntoniaFinland0:38
58TEUTENBERG Lea LinGermany1:06
59GUTIÉRREZ SheylaSpain1:21
60CECCHINI ElenaItaly1:24
61DEMAY CoralieFrance1:28
62KOREVAAR JeanneNetherlands2:41
63ERIKSEN MalinNorway2:59
64VAINIONPÄÄ LauraFinland3:01
65HÁJKOVÁ MarketaCzech Republic3:03
66BAJGEROVÁ NikolaCzech Republic3:03
67EKLUND NathalieSweden3:03
68DE JONG ThalitaNetherlands3:03
69VANDENBULCKE JesseBelgium3:03
70BRZEZNA MonikaPoland3:03
71HOLMSGAARD TrineDenmark3:03
72BORGLI StineNorway3:03
73TRUYEN MartheBelgium3:08
74BENITO MireiaSpain3:08
75DEMEY ValerieBelgium3:08
76ŽIGART UrškaSlovenia3:08
77ISASI ZiortzaSpain3:08
78SCHWEINBERGER KathrinAustria3:08
79NOSKOVÁ NikolaCzech Republic3:12
80KOCH FranziskaGermany3:12
81KLEIN LisaGermany3:12
82BRAUßE FranziskaGermany3:12
83BASTIANELLI MartaItaly3:12
84FORTIN ValentineFrance3:12
85VAN DE VELDE JulieBelgium3:12
86MEERTENS LoneBelgium3:12
87ERIĆ JelenaSerbia3:12

Results provided by ProCyclingStats.

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