Ellen van Dijk finished the opening prologue of the Boels Ladies Tour in third place, with teammates Leah Kirchmann and Lucinda Brand also racing to top-6 finishes over the short, fast stage.
Three riders in the top six puts the team in a strong position ahead of the coming days, with Ellen finishing eight seconds down on the stage winner, while Leah and Lucinda sit just one and two seconds a piece behind Ellen. The stage signalled a strong start to the six-day stage race in the Netherlands, as Floortje Mackaij and Pernille Mathiesen also finished in the top 30.
The flat yet technical 3.3km stage got things underway for the week and created the opening time gaps of the race, but with just 19″ separating the top 20 riders the race is still wide open going into tomorrow’s first road stage, 132.2km covering a succession of short climbs along the route.
After the stage, Team Sunweb coach Henrik Werner said: “I’m pretty positive about the day – 3rd, 4th, 6th and 14th not only proved the physical capabilities of the riders, but puts us in a good position as a team. So we can take some confidence from this day. We’re optimistic for the coming days and we’ll discuss how we approach it together.
“The winning time today was impressive and, for today out of reach. All our team put in good efforts – there are some learning points but overall we’re happy about today.”