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Simac Ladies Tour: Lorena Wiebes secures overall as Mischa Bredewold kicks clear for final stage

Late move from Bredewold secures stage 6 victory ahead of Eleonora Gasparrini.

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Mischa Bredewold (Parkhotel Valkenburg) won the sixth and final stage of the Simac Ladies Tour after making a late escape from the peloton in the final seven kilometers.

Bredewold was joined by Eleonora Gasparrini (Valcar Travel & Service), who took second as the pair held off the bunch to the line in Arnhem.

Race leader Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) sprinted to third behind, successfully defending the yellow jersey to win the race overall.

A move from Amanda Spratt (BikeExchange-Jayco), Soraya Paladin (Canyon-SRAM) and Elynor Backstedt (Trek-Segafredo) in the middle of the stage looked likely to shake up the GC after they gained more than four minutes on the peloton, but the trio was brought back before the finale.

Mischa Bredewold galloped clear late in the stage to secure breakaway victory.

The 2022 Simac Ladies Tour concluded with its longest stage, a 150km day set on circuits in and around Arnhem in the east of the Netherlands.

With small but repeated climbs on both of the two laps that would be used, the race was not as hard as Friday’s “queen stage” in Limburg but there were plenty of chances for riders to attack and make the racing difficult. The day started with Wiebes in the yellow jersey, six seconds ahead of stage 5 winner Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Trek-Segafredo) and 36 seconds clear of Karlijn Swinkels (Jumbo Visma) in third, with the rest of the top-10 also all within a minute and 14 seconds of the lead.

After one short-lived attack in the early part of the stage, a second move from Queen of the Mountains Kirstie van Haaften (Parkhotel Valkenburg) and Maëlle Grossetête (FDJ-SUEZ-Futuroscope) ignited the first breakaway of the day, joined by Jeanne Korevaar (Liv Racing Xstra) and Eline van Rooijen (AG Insurance-NXTG). Van Haaften was looking to extend her lead in the climbers’ classification with 6 QoM climbs on the route, whilst third-placed Grossetête was hoping to challenge the Dutch rider.

After 30km of racing, the leading quartet had a lead of a minute, but soon aggression in the peloton would bring them back.

Looking to put race leader Wiebes in trouble, Anna Henderson and Riejanne Markus of Jumbo Visma attacked the peloton, drawing out a group of around 10 riders that did not include Wiebes. They caught the leaders, but posing a big threat on GC, the move was shut down by the peloton.

The regrouping didn’t last long, though, and Van Haaften was on the attack again before the second Queen of the Mountains climb, which she won to solidify her lead in the jersey. Behind, Spratt led the peloton up the climb, testing Wiebes’s abilities. The hard pace set into and on the climb saw the lead group shrink to around 30 riders, crucially with no DSM riders except Wiebes, the team clearly struggling already after trying to control the start to the race. On the descent from the climb, Van Haaften rejoined the lead group, which sat around a minute ahead of the second bigger group.

The next time up the climb on the circuit, Spratt attacked again, this time going clear and taking Backstedt and Paladin with her. After 82km, this trio had a 45-second gap whilst behind the two groups had come back together forming a larger peloton again, importantly reuniting Wiebes with her teammates. Less than 10km later, their lead had grown to two minutes which put Spratt in the virtual lead, and Paladin second, with DSM possibly lacking some firepower to chase.

Crossing the halfway point in the race and with 70km to go, the leaders’ advantage was still growing, and was out to 3 minutes 15 seconds as the chase seemed to stall behind. Apart from DSM, the only team with significant interest in chasing was Jumbo Visma, but struggled to do the work on its own in the face of a strong leading trio. Going into the last 50km, the gap had grown to four minutes, a big chunk of time for the peloton to close.

In the last 35km, however, the bunch had clawed back some time, bringing the gap to 2 minutes 16 seconds. Spratt started the day 1:11 seconds down on GC, so Lorena Wiebes only had to finish within around a minute 20 of the leaders – and not lose more than six seconds to second-placed Cordon-Ragot – to retain her race lead.

The gap continued to fall on the local laps around Arnhem as Jumbo Visma set the pace, and by 18km to go the gap was down to a minute, putting Wiebes back in the virtual lead if not also in contention to win the stage.

With 13km to go, the three leaders were caught, bringing everything back together for the last two laps.

Alison Jackson (Liv Racing Xstra) went on the attack, and had a small advantage, but was caught after just 4km out solo. Going into the final lap, Audrey Cordon-Ragot attacked the peloton to take a three-second bonus on the line, prompting a counter-attack from white jersey Mischa Bredewold (Parkhotel Valkenburg). The Dutch rider was joined by Eleonora Gasparrini (Valcar Travel & Service) and the pair had a slight gap with 7km remaining.

Despite only having a slender advantage, the leading duo fought hard to the finish line and held off the chasing bunch. Bredewold led out the sprint from the front, but Gasparrini could not come around, delivering the white jersey the second win of her career in Arnhem.

Wiebes took third behind, five seconds down on the winner, successfully defending her jersey to take overall victory after winning two stages earlier in the week.

Bredewold’s win topped off a consistent week for the Dutch rider, who secured the white jersey ahead of Julie De Wilde (Plantur Pura). Kirstie van Haaften took home the mountains jersey, whilst Wiebes won the points classification.

The Women’s WorldTour continues on September 7 with the five-stage Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta.

Results will be available once stage has completed.

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