Team Sunweb kicked off the two-day Madrid Challenge Saturday by winning the Team Time Trial in commanding fashion. The team held an 18-second advantage going into Sunday’s crit, which Ellen van Dijk and Coryn Rivera were able to capitalize on for a 1-2 finish in the general classification.
Different from years past, this year’s two-day format with a TTT on a technical, short course added to the challenge and team strategy. With large gaps from Saturday’s time trial, Team Sunweb’s GC competition would need to attempt a breakaway and grab bonus seconds in intermediate sprints for any chance at the overall win.
Five laps into the 100km/ 17-lap race, the first concerning break went clear to take an advantage of 50 seconds before being caught on lap nine. On lap ten, an attack led to a large breakaway of 19 riders where Team Sunweb was well represented. The majority of the pack stayed just ahead of the peloton until the end, where van Dijk’s sixth place secured the overall win for the team. Rivera, Leah Kirchmann, and Liane Lippert finished at the front of the peloton, just 13 seconds back to grab second, fourth and fifth in the GC.
“We can be really happy with 1-2 in the GC and the other girls close behind, especially after our TTT win yesterday,” said van Dijk. “It’s been a good weekend with the team with lots of good points to take forward to Worlds.”
Team Sunweb will defend their World Championship TTT title on Sunday in Innsbruck.