It was a day for the breakaway at stage five of the Boels Ladies Tour, after a solo attacker from the group in the final 10 kilometres made it to the line. Team Sunweb’s Lucinda Brand finished 3rd in the sprint, securing precious bonus seconds to her GC.
Pernille Mathiesen was in the four rider move that went clear in the early kilometres of the race, with the group granted a four minute advantage over the peloton. As their lead began to fall in the final 40 kilometres, fresh legs from the peloton attempted to bridge across to the leaders with Leah Kirchmann representing the team in two of the groups that tried their luck.
After more attempts, seven riders led the race into it’s final 15 kilometres. On the final climb of the day a rider attacked from the break and was able to gain a 50 second advantage over the peloton, enough of a lead to take the stage win. The breakaway were eventually caught in the final four kilometres and attention shifted to bonus seconds in the sprint with Lucinda Brand. She finished the day in 3rd place, taking four bonus seconds as a result.
Lucinda said: “It was a long and hard stage today. In the first kilometres there was a breakaway of four riders with Pernille in which was a good situation for us. On the second lap there was another break with Leah, which was perfect for us because she’s still up there on the GC and has a great time trial. Unfortunately the cooperation in the group wasn’t great so the bunch managed to chase it down. In the end we were riding for second place as Chantal stayed clear. I managed to position myself really well and sprinted to 2nd from the peloton, which was 3rd on the stage. I think we had a good day and we did all that we could to gain some time but there are so many strong riders here so it was hard to change the GC to our advantage. Tomorrow is the last day with a time trial, we can ride really well there so we’ll look to show that.”
Team Sunweb coach Hendrik Werner said: “Today was a hilly stage in Limburg where we aimed to put the pressure on the other GC teams. Pernille was in a breakaway group that had a four minute lead, then after we sent Leah up the road to bridge but the cooperation wasn’t great in the group so they weren’t able to make it across. The control didn’t make any differences in the GC and we’re still up there with four riders in the top 10. Lucinda got third in the sprint which means that we’re another four seconds closer. We enter tomorrow’s stage with four good cards to play, where the individual strengths will decide the general classification.”