For the second time in her, rather short, career, Ellen van Dijk has won the Lotto-Belisol Belgium Tour. The rider from Amsterdam proudly wore the yellow jersey after four stages. “It’s a lovely stage race which is very well organized,” she complimented the organization. “This year it was extra special with the team time trial and the stage over the famous Muur van Geraardsbergen.”
The team time trial was a great starting point for the 26-year old Specialized-Lululemon rider. Together with Tayler Wiles, Trixi Worrack, Evelyn Stevens, Lisa Brennauer, Loren Rowney and Carmen Small they clocked the fastest time. “It was not all planned that I would cross the line first. You win the yellow jersey as a team. We were very strong together and didn’t really plan that I would take yellow.”
Specialized-Lululemon worked hard to defend the yellow jersey after day one. “The second stage was really hard. It was a tough circuit with lots of altitude meters. And it was horrible weather too,” she says about the stage around Angreau.
After stage three Ellen’s teammate Lisa Brennauer took the yellow because she grabbed the bonus seconds. “Lisa has no idea what she is capabe of,” Ellen smiles. “She can ride short climbs, do echelons and she is a real time triallist. I had no problem with her taking the jersey of me. She has been doing a lot for me this year.”
On the final day with the infamous Muur van Geraardsbergen, it is Ellen van Dijk who wins the overall title in the end. She finished third behind Annette Edmondson and Emma Johansson. “If Lisa would have stayed with us, she could have won this race. It is a great thing for Specialized-Lululemon that we have two riders so well positioned in the overall. I didn’t mind who would win,” she smiles.
The World Championships are next. “I chose not to ride Plouay this weekend even though I am quite high up in the World Tour ranking. In Firenze I will do the team time trial, the individual time trial and the road race. The Lotto-Belisol Belgium Tour was timed perfectly this year. We are one month before the Worlds so I look to keep my form, and improve it somewhat.”
Specialized-Lululemon are the favourites for the team time trial, especially after their victories in the Lotto-Belisol Belgium Tour and the World Cup in Vargårdå. Last year the team were the first World Champions in this new event. “Yeah that’s true but it’s a new year with new riders so you’ll have to wait and see where you stand. And if you can repeat. Especially Rabobank Liv-Giant are training hard. I think they are our strongest adversaries.”
And with regards to the Lotto-Belisol Belgium Tour. Will Ellen van Dijk be back in 2014 for her third victory in a row? “With the team time trial and the stage up and around the Muur, which is so cool, I’d love to come back next year to defend my title.”