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 claimed a top-ten finish for the third consecutive day at the Giro d'Italia Donne. The 20-year-old rider of Team Jumbo-Visma finished ninth in the sixth stage of the Italian race.
After an attacking opening stage, two riders formed the day's breakaway. An active Karlijn Swinkels tried to jump along on behalf of Team Jumbo-Visma, but the 24-year-old Dutch rider was unsuccessful.
Once the leaders had been reeled in, Annemiek van Vleuten launched a furious attack on the penultimate climb. None of her rivals could follow, and the general classification leader crossed the finish line in Canelli unscathed.
"The aim was to follow and that worked well"
Van Empel struggled for a moment but rejoined the chase a short time later. In the final steep metres, she sprinted to ninth place. "It was tough today. The aim was to follow, and it worked well", Van Empel said. "The last part before the finish was tricky. I didn't have much left to move up."
Race coach Carmen Small was more than pleased with the youngster's progress. "Fem is doing great in her first grand tour. We are not putting any pressure on her and are taking it one day at a time. So far, she is recovering well and learning every day. It's an excellent journey of discovery for her."