The young Dutchwoman placed 3rd in the first Ardennes classic. “I never expect to get such important result today.”
There was a bit of astonishment in the eyes and the words of Shirin Van Anrooij on the finish line of Amstel Gold Race. The third place she took today came to her as something unexpected, as a pleasant surprise.
To be honest, I really don’t know how it happened, I was hoping for a top ten and I managed to finish third. Yes, it came by surprise.
But looking more deeply, the fact that Shirin finished on the podium of Amstel Gold Race is not unexpected. After her success at Trofeo Binda and three valuable top tens at Ronde van Vlaanderen, Dwars door Vlaanderen and De Brabantse Pijl (as well as an amazing cyclocross season), the Amstel Gold Race only confirmed her progress.
Today’s third place came after a sprint behind Kopecky (SD Worx) and 8″ from the solo winner Vollering (SD Worx), at the end of a tough day of racing. Lucinda Brand was among the most active until 20kms from the finish, leading attacks and a two-rider breakaway with Stultiens (LIV Racing). From there on, it was a test of strength, with the peloton fatigued by inclement weather and by the climbs that characterized Amstel Gold Race. The race was decided on last ascent of the Cauberg. That was the decisive moment where Shirin, once again, showed all her talent and character.
Well, today’s race development changed so many times and so quickly that nothing was really written until the finish line. I faced the final climb to Cauberg in support of Elisa [Longo Borghini] and all of a sudden I found my self at the head of the chasing group, in a perfect position to sprint for the podium.
I came to the foot of the Cauberg already with a big chase in my legs and when Vollering attacked I was not even in the first chasing group. With Elisa struggling on the climb, I got the input to fight for the best result, and the podium came.
I’m really happy for this result, I never expected to get such an important podium . At the end, honestly it was the highest result we could get today. We always race for the win, but looking at how the race went, we can be satisfied with finishing third today.
Looking to the next Classics, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, I was already excited for them. After this podium, I will race with a boost of confidence. I know the shape is good, the only thing I have to do is recover well. I’ll be ready and happy to play the role the Team need to get a good result. Today we saw again how difficult is to challenge SD Worx in this Classics season, but our teamwork could be a good way to threaten them. For me, every race is a chance to improve, to make a step forward, to become a better rider. I really want to continue like this and surprise myself again.