Riejanne Markus retains Dutch time trial title

Riejanne Markus successfully defended her elite women’s time trial title at the Netherlands Road Championships on Wednesday, triumphing in the 36.8km event held in Steenbergen. Markus completed the course in a time of 47:17, securing her victory by 29 seconds over her Visma-Lease a Bike teammate Lieke Nooijen. Tour de France winner Demi Vollering finished third, 1:12 behind Markus.

“Beforehand, I could only dream of this scenario,” Markus stated. “I knew I had a good chance, but at the same time I was aware that it was going to be very difficult. It feels a little unreal that I get to grab this title for the second year in a row. Things have been going very well lately. This title feels a bit like the icing on the cake.”

The 36.8km course began in the centre of Steenbergen, leading the riders into the polder regions between Steenbergen and Dinteloord, featuring long, straight roads ideal for time trial specialists. The race returned to Steenbergen after a lap south of Dinteloord.

The favourites started late in the day, but earlier riders like Ilse Pluimers set the benchmarks. Pluimers’ time of 50:01 was soon shattered by Nooijen, who clocked 47:46. However, Markus, starting among the final group, surged ahead, passing key rivals at the halfway mark.

At the intermediate checkpoint, Markus was already 35 seconds ahead of Nooijen. Vollering, Shirin van Anrooij, Loes Adegeest, and Lucinda Brand all trailed by over a minute. Markus extended her lead in the second half of the race, leaving no doubt about her victory.

“I am super satisfied and think it is super cool that I can stand next to my teammate Riejanne on the podium,” Nooijen expressed her delight after the race. “I knew the podium would come eventually, but I did not expect to ride such a good time now, maybe just hoped. I scouted and reviewed the course well in advance, so I had it all clear in my mind.”

Markus’s impressive performance not only retained her national title but also highlighted her strong form ahead of a busy summer, potentially including the Olympics, depending on Ellen van Dijk’s recovery from an ankle fracture. “That is not something I wish on her, but I must now stand by,” Markus commented on her standby status for the Olympics.

Shirin van Anrooij, competing in the U23 category, claimed the title in her division but felt her overall sixth place fell short of expectations. “Riejanne passed me quickly. My team leader Steven de Jongh had told me not to worry about it, but it is always a bit of a mental blow,” she remarked.

The race marked a significant moment for Nooijen, who hopes to make the Tour de France Femmes team. “I am now in a good position, so I would really like to ride the Tour. If I am selected, I will give everything to support the team leaders,” she told CyclingOnline.

2024 Dutch Time Trial National Championships Women result

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Main photo credit: Cor Vos