Glorious return to cyclocross for Van Empel
Fem van Empel has marked her return to the field with a victory. The 21-year-old...
Fem van Empel has once again impressed at the Giro d'Italia Donne. The 20-year-old Jumbo-Visma rider finished the queen stage in ninth place, her second consecutive top-ten finish in the Italian stage race.
With the Passo del Lupo, the riders immediately faced a tough challenge. GC leader Annemiek van Vleuten and Gaia Realini attacked early on. They were the first to reach the summit. Seven other riders joined the duo soon after, creating a lead group of nine riders.
Van Empel was part of the first chase group and rejoined the pink jersey's group just before the foot of the final climb. On the climb, the youngster could not keep up with the favourites. Antonia Niedermaier soloed to victory, while Van Empel sprinted to ninth place.
"When Annemiek accelerated, I was too far behind"
"It was gruelling from the first kilometre", Van Empel said. "We thought the team would drop me on the climb as best they could. They did a great job. Marianne and Noemi could follow for a long time, and then it was up to me to see if I could keep up. When Annemiek accelerated, I was too far behind. That was disappointing because I had good legs."
Van Empel says she did everything possible to help the team achieve great results. "I kept believing in it, and with twenty kilometres to go, I returned to the group with Van Vleuten. That was a great morale booster. Unfortunately, I crashed on the climb, but I can be happy with ninth place."