Riejanne Markus takes solo victory at Veenendaal-Veenendaal Classic

Riejanne Markus clinched a solo victory at the Veenendaal-Veenendaal Classic, defying the odds with a daring attack on the final climb. Markus crossed the finish line with a nine-second lead over the chasing peloton, securing her win in the rain-soaked race.

The elite women’s race, covering 136.5 kilometres, comprised four laps of 35 kilometres each, featuring the challenging Grebbeberg and Paardenveld climbs. The first lap saw no significant attacks, as the peloton stayed together, warming up for the battles ahead.

SD Worx tested the competition during the second lap, trying to create echelons on the Rijndijk, known for its tricky winds. However, the peloton remained intact, and only minor gaps appeared. By halfway through the race, all riders were still in the main group, with a brief attempt by Florien Bolks of WV Schijndel, to break away, which was quickly neutralised.

In the third lap, the race intensity increased significantly. A flurry of attacks resulted in a breakaway of seven riders, including Sanne Cant, Femke Beuling, and Julia Kopecky. This group managed to gain a considerable lead, but as the rain began to fall, the peloton started to close the gap.

With 16 kilometres remaining, the breakaway was caught. On the final climb of the Paardenveld, Markus saw her chance. “On the final climb of the Paardenveld, I was eager to give it a try. At first, I was disappointed that I was boxed in for a long time because I thought it would be too short to get away,” she explained.

Markus managed to find a gap and launched her attack. The peloton was close behind, but the wet and winding roads worked to her advantage. “Eventually, I was able to find a gap and got away solo. The peloton was always close behind me, but I knew I had an advantage with the many corners and rainy roads. I just kept going and thought, ‘Let’s see where this ends’. Luckily, I managed to stay away and crossed the finish line solo.”

Barbara Guarischi and Marthe Truyen led the bunch sprint, finishing second and third respectively. Markus’s win added to her successful season, having finished second overall at La Vuelta Femenina earlier this month.

Reflecting on her win, Markus acknowledged the challenging weather conditions. “The rain has helped, so there I was reasonably happy with it. They were close behind me for a long time. Also, the corners give an advantage. I thought, I’ll see where the ship strands. It’s easier to organise without rain, of course,” she said.

Markus’s victory was a significant achievement for her and her family. In a touching moment, she dedicated her win to her father, who had sent her a message that morning. “This race hasn’t been won by anyone in the Markus family yet. So here you go, Dad!”

2024 Veenendaal-Veenendaal result

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