Time trials are rare in the women’s UCI race calendar. Aside from winning the Netherlands National Championship title a few weeks ago, Ellen van Dijk last competed in her rainbow speed suit in March.
With the lack of time trials, van Dijk has had to make the best of each opportunity, which she did again in the prologue at the Baloise Ladies Tour in Utrecht.
Ellen clocked 5 minutes and 8 seconds to take a dominant win in the four-kilometer race Wednesday evening. It was her third win in rainbows, giving her a perfect 3-0 record for the season.
The first to tackle the 3.9-kilometer course for Trek-Segafredo was Audrey Cordon-Ragot, and the French champion set the bar high, clocking a fast time of 5 minutes and 22 seconds. Van Dijk had a perfect reference point. As a hometown favorite, all eyes were on her when she left the start house to take on the short, technical route in Utrecht.
Short time trials are not van Dijk’s preference, but when she flew out of the final corner and sprinted the last meters to throw her bike over the white line, the clock read 14 seconds faster.
Van Dijk was one of the early starters and had a long stint in the hot seat. But of the final riders, only Lorena Wiebes would come remotely close – crossing the line 11 seconds slower for second place.
Cordon-Ragot (4th) and Elynor Backstedt (9th) also cracked the top 10 and the Trek-Segafredo women will have another leader’s jersey to defend starting in Stage 1 tomorrow.
For van Dijk, it was a rare opportunity to race her favorite event and show off her world champion kit in a home race. Winning just made that sweeter.
Ellen van Dijk:
“It’s a nice start [to the race] to win and with some good [time] advantage. It was really nice for me because it was a home race – 10-15kms from home – so I had friends and family there. That made it a special evening.
“I am also happy because I am coming off a training period where I didn’t have the best feeling. But now it seems like everything is fine, so this is a nice confidence boost.
“I really like this Tour because there is also a time trial coming and so I can wear my rainbow jersey twice this week, which I don’t get to do often.
“Of course, I am also looking towards the GC as well with this team here – we had a good start today with the team. But at the same time the bonus seconds will be a problem in the sprint stages, but for sure we will go for it. We always have other options, like breakaways chances for other riders. We will see, but for sure it’s a very nice start to the Tour.”