Van Dijk scoops Columbia-High Road Women's first classification success at first race of the year
New Columbia-Highroad women’s team rider Ellen Van Dijk has secured the Best Young Rider prize in the Tour of Qatar on Tuesday - the team’s first classification win in their first stage race of the season.
Van Dijk’s consistency after taking the jersey on the first day when she made it into the front group of 21 riders: she finally ended the race in fourth place overall and the best Columbia- Highroad finisher.
“I think everybody was a little bit tired on the last stage and no one team had the strength to open the race up. Ultimately that helped me,” Van Dijk commented.
The last stage from the Camel Race Track to the Al Khor peninsula was a tense affair for the young Dutchwoman, when she was caught on the wrong side of a split in the final hour. But she finally crossed the line in sixth place, in the same time as stage winner Giorgia Bronzini of Italy.
“The bunch split apart with about 10 kilometres to go and I was right at the back when that happened so I had to get pass seven groups,” she explained. “That was a really hard effort, but I knew I had to make it to the front. Then [Team] Flexpoint split the bunch and after it regrouped slightly I attacked with 800 metres to go. I didn’t think I could win the sprint so I just went for all or nothing. The headwind was very strong and I couldn’t stay away, but at least I got the Best Young Rider’s jersey.”
Van Dijk now heads to the World Cup track event in Denmark this weekend from February 13- 15th, and then goes on to the track World Championships in Poland from March 25th - 29th.
“I won’t be doing much road racing for a while but I got a good result here in Qatar. I feel great in my new team, they worked really well for me.”
“It was a bit odd because I thought I should work for my team-mates here in Qatar as I was the new rider. But then it turned out the other way. All in all, a good start to the year for me.”