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Simac Ladies Tour stage 3: Charlotte Kool wins after Lorena Wiebes leadout

Wiebes gives chance to teammate as Team DSM take 1-2 on the line.

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Charlotte Kool (Team DSM) took victory on stage 3 of the Simac Ladies Tour as race leader Lorena Wiebes helped her teammate to the win, and finished second herself.

The pair launched their sprint before the final corner of the stage, riding away from the peloton before Wiebes allowed her reliable lead-out rider to take the win. Georgia Baker (BikeExchange-Jayco) rounded out the podium in third.

There was no day-long breakaway on stage 3, with a short-lived move from Sophie Wright (UAE Team ADQ), Justine Ghekiere (Plantur Pura), Eline van Rooijen (AG Insurance-NXTG), and Daniek Hengeveld (GT Krush Tunap) in the middle of the stage the only break to speak of ahead of the expected sprint.

How it happened

Like many of the stages in this year’s Simac Ladies Tour, stage 3 saw the peloton start and finish in the same town — on this occasion Gennep in the southeast of the Netherlands — and race on a circuit. Thursday’s route was made up of two laps of a long 63km circuit, before finishing on a smaller 16.3km loop around the center. The long lap featured a 2.1km climb, but at only 3.2 percent it did not offer too much of a challenge amongst the otherwise-flat parcours.

Two stages in, the peloton took the opening part of stage 3 as a chance for some calmer racing, and there was very little action or attacking in the first 50km. The peloton remained compact, rolling through the outskirts of Gennep. At the first Queen of the Mountains point of the day, race leader and two-time stage winner Wiebes tested her legs, taking maximum points and further stamping her domination on the race.

Shortly after the climb, with 55km completed, the first real attack of the day materialized when Sophie Wright (UAE Team ADQ), Justine Ghekiere (Plantur-Pura), Eline van Rooijen (AG Insurance-NXTG), and Daniek Hengeveld (GT Krush Tunap) escaped at the end of the first lap. The quartet was able to build an advantage of 40 seconds for around 20km, but as soon as the peloton accelerated again, they were reeled back in. With 60km to go, it was all together again.

Heading into the last 50km of the stage, several attacks started as teams tried to make it harder for Team DSM and Wiebes. Marissa Baks (GT Krush Tunap) went ahead solo, prompting the likes of Alice Barnes (Canyon-SRAM), Alison Jackson (Liv Racing Xstra), and Ruby Roseman-Gannon (BikeExchange-Jayco) to follow her. Though no riders were able to snap the elastic, the injection of aggression stretched out the peloton as the pace increased going towards the finishing circuit.

At the second Queen of the Mountains point, Wiebes again sprinted for points, earning enough to put her in the lead in the classification, as well as the overall and points classifications. The brief rise saw Jackson attempt another attack but she couldn’t make any ground on the peloton going into the final 25km. Jackson’s teammate Jeanne Korevaar was the next to attack, taking Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (SD Worx) with her, but again the peloton was not letting anyone get away.

Despite Team DSM being the clear favorites for the sprint, several teams were sharing the responsibility in the finale, with BikeExchange-Jayco, Canyon-SRAM, and Trek-Segafredo all working on the front in the final 15km. A group of riders attacked around the 12km to go mark to try and disrupt the chances for a sprint but struggled to establish a gap.

Going into the final 3km, the Team DSM lead-out train was well-organized in anticipation of a sprint. In the last kilometer, it was only the yellow jersey Wiebes and Charlotte Kool left for the team. Approaching the final corner it was Wiebes who hit the front, piloting Kool towards the line.

The pair led into the final straight, and Kool launched off of Wiebes’s wheel to take the stage victory, with Wiebes easily holding on to complete a 1-2 for the team. Stage 2 breakaway rider Georgia Baker (BikeExchange-Jayco) took third ahead of Clara Copponi (FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope).

Wiebes goes into stage 4 leading the overall, points, and mountains classification of the race after a dominant first half of the week, though tomorrow’s stage may prove too challenging for the sprinter to hold onto yellow. The remaining jersey for best young rider is held by Lonneke Uneken (SD Worx).

Stage 4 starting and finishing in Landgraaf has been dubbed the Queen stage of the race, featuring a long list of short but sharp climbs on a lap to be completed three times, including the famous Cauberg. The nature of the route should put an end to the run of sprint finishes and will suit a classics-style rider. Along with Saturday’s time trial, tomorrow will be decisive for the Simac Ladies Tour general classification.

Results will be available once stage has completed.

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