The last day of racing at the Boels Ladies Tour saw the peloton complete the reverse journey of yesterday’s stage, as they started in Nijmegen and finished in Arnhem. The parcours could be split into two clear sections; with the opening two thirds almost completely flat before the last 40 kilometres of racing saw the peloton faced with several hills and a rolling finish circuit.
It was a slow start to the day, with the bunch happy to roll around as it was difficult for any attacks to get clear on the narrow roads. Eventually a solo rider broke clear and their advantage would extend out to over three minutes. However, the pace was increased dramatically in the peloton as they approached the hilly finale and the breakaway’s advantage would tumble.
Over the top of one of the climbs and on the technical descent, Lucinda Brand used her great bike handling skills to get clear of the bunch with around 30 kilometres of the stage to go. Fighting hard, Brand increased her lead over the peloton to 25 seconds at one point, but the peloton were intent on bringing her back. Taking the bell to begin the last lap of the finish circuit in Arnhem, Brand was reeled back in by the peloton. That didn’t deter the team who put in more attacks on the circuit, with both Floortje Mackaij and Franziska Koch active at the front.
The stage would be decided in a reduced bunch sprint and after some good positioning work on the fast descent leading into the final few hundred metres, Brand was near the head of the bunch. With something still left in her legs, Brand produced a strong kick to the line and took third place on the day, while Mackaij also finished in the top ten for the team with a good seventh place.
As a result of bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint and those on the line, Brand moved up on the overall classification and ends the race in fourth place on GC.