Today was the third round of the UCI Road World Cup, the most prestigious series of races in the women's calendar. Ronde van Drenthe is the third of the women's day races in the Drenthe region, with forested cobbled sections, small roads and 3 climbs over the VAM-berg (a 9% man-made climb that's a gigantic, grassed-over municipal dump). It WAS one of the few day races that Nederland Bloeit's Marianne Vos hadn't won.... Here's about a minute-and-a-half of video coverage from NOS - and if you go here and click on the 14:30 or 17:30 option on tv (ignore that it says tennis!) you can see the last 25 minutes of the race (not sure how long it will last before it is replaced with something else...)
Below the jump, you'll find a bit about how the race happened, and Jens will probably be along later to edit-in the wvds scores. If you find anything interesting about the race, add it to the comments - hopefully it'll be the place for links to photos, blogs, and more tv coverage.
A caveat before we start - because my information comes from places like twitter etc, if often has to be corrected later - so apologies if it's wrong!
The race was surprisingly compact, with no major attacks - possibly because of the crashes in the early stages of the cobbles. There were lots of narrow roads, and 90º turns from wide-to-narrow, or smooth-to-cobbles, and some big pile-ups. The team that suffered most appears to be Diadora-Pasta Zara, who had at least 3 riders taken to hospital (Olds, Patuzzo and Rais-Pierce). Alison Tetrick Starnes from Team USA and Janneke Kanis from Nederland Bloeit had a long 2-woman break, but by 75km were caught - other escape attempts came from Team Australia's Shara Gillow - but the big teams were dominant on the front. All the big favourites stayed safe, and stayed up front, although there were mechanicals all round - Lotto's Rochelle Gilmore punctured on the VAM-berg, and Ronde van Vlaanderen winner Annemiek van Vleuten had a mechanical and had to chase back through the team cars on a particularly tight section of road.
From the final 25- mins video, it seemed like it was less no escaping and more not being allowed to get away. Emma Johansson attacked on the final climb of the VAM-berg, and all kinds of escape artists like Adrie Visser and Liesbet de Vocht tried to get away.... but it came to a mass sprint. Marianne Vos has been on top form, and was the first to attack - one of her 50m jumps for victory!