Pre-race favourite Kirsten Wild missed out on the Rainbow Jersey as young Danish rider Amalie Dideriksen pipped the Dutch rider to first place after a tense but thrilling bunch sprint.
As for the Briton Lizzie Deignan, she finished just outside the medal places in fourth as her quest to retain her crown ultimately ended in disappointment, but it certainly wasn’t for the lack of effort.
It hasn’t been a particular happy second-half to the season for Deignan; her Olympics were wrought with criticism over her three missed anti-doping tests. But today she looked calm and composed from the get-go and on another day it might ended with a different outcome.
The 20-year-old Dideriksen has some pedigree at junior level being a two-time World Champion, but today she won one of the most coveted jersey’s cycling has to offer in the shape of the Rainbow Jersey, and she certainly done it with some panache.
It was a thrilling finale in which it looked as though the Dutch had the result all sown up; their impressive lead-out train which comprised of Annemiek Van Vleuten, Ellen Van Dijk, and Anna Van Der Breggen was looking imperious; but the young Boel-Dolmans rider threw herself into the mix with metres remaining and just pipped the pre-race favourite Wild to first place.
Dideriksen soars in humid Doha heat
Despite the hot and humid conditions it didn’t affect the overall quality of the race. It was ridden at a good pace, and when it entered the last few laps it really came alive.
The first real meaningful attack was from USA’s Amber Neben just inside the last 40km; the 41-year-old won the women’s time-trial earlier this week, but she was on the prowl yet again for a double Rainbow Jersey.
With the advantage at times a good 40 seconds over the peloton, Neben was well in time-trial mode, and behind there wasn’t an organised chase. The Dutch were reluctant to do all the work, the Australian’s showed their power fleetingly, and the duo of Dani King and Hannah Barnes of GB helped out sparingly.
Holland’s strategy almost perfected down to a tee
Holland were the big favourites to produce a winner , and when the race entered the final lap; Van Vleuten, and Van Dijk took control and despite a strong attack from King 8km before the finish it was looking like Holland would time-trial themselves to the line, ultimately for victory.
Their lead-out was exemplary, it was as good as any you will see on the WorldTour; and when Wild was let loose it looked like the imposing Dutch rider would take victory. But Dideriksen managed to upset the odds and take home what is a huge victory for the 20-year-old.
UCI Women’s Road Race
1. Amalie Dideriksen (Denmark), 3-10-27
2. Kirsten Wild (Netherlands)
3. Lotto Lepisto (Finland)
4. Lizzie Deignan (Great Britain)
5. Marta Bastianelli (Italy)
6. Roxanne Fournier (France)
7. Chloe Hosking (Australia)
8. Sheyla Gutierrez (Spain)
9. Joelle Numainville (Canada)
10. Jolien D’Hoore (Belgium), all same time