Bronze medal Lonneke Uneken at European championships

With a strong sprint, Lonneke Uneken has won the bronze medal at the European championships. In the race for women U23 the Italian Letizia Paternoster and Marta Lach from Poland were the only two that were faster. Ingvild Gaskjenn also showed herself, sprinting to a sixth place. Amalie Lutro (25th) and Pernille Feldmann (44th) did a strong lead-out for her.

“I think this was the best possible result for me”, Lonneke said after the race. “I really had to sprint full to the line, to keep the Portuguese girl behind me. Of course you want to win as a rider, but if you look at this sprint, you see that Paternoster was obviously the strongest. Being a first year under 23 rider, I think I can be very happy with how my season is this far.”

Several riders tried to attack during the race, but there was not any group that got a big advantage. The Dutch team did try what they could to get one or two riders away. Lonneke: “We wanted to make a hard race of it, as we would also have chances in a smaller group. But when it stayed together, I was the one that could go for my chance. Amber van der Hulst dropped me of in the front and then it was up to me.”

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Behind Lonneke, Ingvild sprinted to the sixth place and that result said a lot about her development this year. “I am not a climber anymore”, she laughs after the race. “This is normally not a course that would suit me, but this season I have shown that I can also get good results in races that are not very hilly. I developed my strength in the flat races and am more of an all-round rider now.”

Really hard race
With Ingvild, Amalie, Pernille and also Thale Kielland Bjerk, the Norwegian team consisted of four Team Hitec Products – Birk Sport riders. They rode a good race. “But it was a really hard one”, says Ingvild. “It was almost full speed from start to finish. The plan was to save me a bit, but to stay active in the front, as we knew there would be a lot of attacks. When there would be a sprint, I would do it.”

After a lot of rain before the race and during a part of the beginning of the race, the course was very wet. That made it dangerous, as the roads were very slippery. With also a fast pace in the peloton, the riders had to keep their eyes open. Ingvild: You had to be in front all the time, because the back door was open. The peloton was always in one line and it was very hectic. Because of that, it was very hard to stay in the front.”

Stay in a top position
In the final, the team did a great job for Ingvild. “First Pernille took me quite far through to the peloton. Then Amalie did good work for me towards the end. From the cobble section in the final I went for myself and tried to stay in a top position. I was in the wheel of Paternoster at the cobble stone section and had Lonneke in my wheel. Then I sprinted as fast as I could and I think this was the best possible result. I am happy with it.”

The national team of Norway consisted of four riders from Team Hitec Products – Birk Sport. From left to right: Amalie Lutro, Thale Kielland Bjerk, Pernille Feldmann and Ingvild Gaskjenn.

Photo top: Sportfoto.nl