Lorena Wiebes wins thrilling bunch sprint to claim European title

The Dutch sprinter pipped Elisa Balsamo of Italy in a photo finish to claim the sixth win for the Netherlands' in the women's road race in Munich.

By Alessandro Poggi
Picture by (c) Copyright 2022, dpa (www.dpa.de). Alle Rechte vorbehalten

Lorena Wiebes continued the Dutch dominance in women's cycling by taking gold in the European road race on Sunday (21 August).

The 23-year-old pipped world champion Elisa Balsamo of Italy in a very tight sprint on the streets of Munich to add another continental accolade to her CV after winning gold three years ago at the European Games in Minsk.

Balsamo's teammate Rachele Barbieri crossed the finish line in third to grab bronze. Germany's Lisa Brennauer, who made the podium in 2018, finished fourth in the last race of her career.

"It was a very long sprint. We worked really well as a team and I'm proud I've finished it off," said Wiebes, who last month claimed two individual stages at the Tour de France Feminin.

This is her first European title as a senior after winning gold in the junior race in 2017.

"It was a similar finish. Also that day I didn't know if I had won, so I'm proud to win this jersey knowing how hard the team worked for it."

The Dutch sprinter is the sixth female rider from the Netherlands to win European gold since the inaugural race in Glasgow in 2016.

The race was characterised by various attacks and counterattacks and the four Dutch riders were able to control the peloton by preventing any successful breakaway.

Their strategy paid off when, after almost 130km of racing over a relative flat course, it all came down to a bunch sprint: Wiebes powered her way on the final stretch and lunged to the finish line, pipping Balsamo by a close margin in a photo finish at Odeonsplatz.

That was the second win in Munich for the road cycling Dutch team after Fabio Jakobsen took home the men's race one week ago.

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