16.04.2023 World-Tour, News, Race news
AGONISINGLY CLOSE TO THE PODIUM AT AMSTEL GOLD RACE
CANYON//SRAM Racing was agonisingly close to the podium today after an impressive team performance at Amstel Gold Race in the Netherlands. Kasia Niewiadoma and Soraya Paladin finished fourth and fifth as a group of 15 riders sprinted for the final podium spots behind Demi Vollering, who attacked as the leaders crested the top of the Cauberg climb with 1.8km remaining.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The 155km race saw no significant breakaway until after the first hour of racing. Soraya was in a nine-rider move that split as the leaders and the peloton further behind prepared for the first of five ascents of the Cauberg climb. From the breakaway, two riders, Brand and Stultiens, went clear and built a lead of close to two minutes with Soraya and later Ricarda Bauernfeind in the chase group. The chase groups and peloton came together, and the leaders were caught on the penultimate lap after Ricarda’s pace on the climb helped reduce the advantage. Only a small peloton remained, and various attacks flew off the front in the final 25 kilometres, including Elise Chabbey. Soraya’s move on the final Bemelerberg with nine kilometres remaining put the peloton under immense pressure. Her lead was never more than 20 seconds, but still, the CANYON//SRAM Racing rider was able to hold off the peloton until 100m from the top of the final Cauberg, just 1.9km from the finish. Soraya was caught by a select group of riders, including Kasia, who she urged to go, but it was Vollering who attacked with 1.8km remaining, and no one could go with her. As the chase disintegrated, the group swelled from five to fifteen riders. In the sprint for the remaining spots on the podium, Kasia was fourth, and Soraya, despite her final breakaway effort, still managed to finish fifth. Teammate Elise was at the back of the first group in thirteenth place.
Kasia says, “I’m unsure how I feel about today’s result. But I am sure with the way we rode as a team! It was cool to see us being aggressive and choosing the right moments to attack, like Soraya’s attack at the end. She did so well and was close to making it; I think she just needed 100m more to be at the point where the others hesitate and let her go.”
“Having Soraya in the front made me hesitate on the final Cauberg as I didn’t want to close the gap by attacking, so I decided to stay in the wheels. Maybe my final was a bit too conservative.”
“I felt comfortable having teammates around who created a hard race and stayed present in the front for practically the whole race. I wonder if there are other cyclists who have as many fourth, fifth or sixth places as me, but instead, I’m concentrating on how good the team performance was today. I’m honestly very happy with that.”
Soraya says, “It’s hard to know how to feel. I’m sad and happy at the same time. We deserved a podium with the way our team raced. It’s sad we didn’t get it, but I’m happy with my feelings and that we made a difference in the race.”
“I used some energy in the earlier part of the race with going in the breakaway, but I enjoyed it and was happy to be active. I liked the Bemelerberg climb, and on the final lap, I saw a few sprinters were still there, so I said to myself that you have nothing to lose. It was a hard effort, so it was nice to have some cheering from the race car. I only thought about going as deep as I could. I’m unhappy being so close to the podium and not on it. It’s one of my favourite races, and I dream of celebrating with the podium beer.”