Floortje Mackaij rode strongly throughout the hilly time-trial stage to finish in a respectable time, and to maintain her grip on the White Jersey of best young riders, while teammate Lucinda Brand time trialled to 15th.
On paper, the time-trial may have appeared relatively tame, with just two small humps spoiling an otherwise flat course. However, the profile presented a tough test, as riders were tasked with climbing a steep ascent at the end of the stage. It was enough of a test that some riders decided to use a traditional rode bike instead of their regular time-trial machines. Described by many as a ‘wall’, the hill stretched on for over 300 metres with an average gradient of 22%, in some parts as steep as 30%. The leg-sapping climb proved to be the decisive point of the course, as it presented the good opportunity for riders to make up time on their rivals. American sprinter Coryn Rivera suffered a crash on one of the descents, but remounted and finished the stage with determination.
Floortje will continue to wear the White Jersey tomorrow, currently in 14th overall, whilst Lucinda Brand and Sabrina Stultiens go into stage 6 placed 11th and 12th respectively on general classification.
After the stage, Team Sunweb Coach Adriaan Helmantel reflected: “It was a very hard TT with two difficult climbs which made it a very demanding race. It is hard to get into the rhythm when the speed is changing between 50km/h on the flat and 6-7km/h uphill.
“They did the best they could but unfortunately that was not enough to challenge for the top 10. Coryn crashed in the decent, but is OK, and Floortje is still in the lead of the young rider’s GC, so now we look ahead at the days to come.”