The UCI 1.1 Volta Limburg Classic was last contested in 2019 when Dan Pearson finished in 29th place for the Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes team. 2020 was lost to Covid and 2021 due to severe flooding in this southern-most province of the Netherlands.
After the largely flat races of Dorpenomloop Rucphen and the Olympia’s Tour, the 192km Limburg parcours featured 38 climbs of which 24 were categorised contributing to a total climbing of 2878 vertical metres.
- Volta Limburg Classic race profile
The field consisted of 3 UCI World Tour teams, 5 Pro Teams and 15 UCI Continental teams including WiV SunGod. The top riders featured 2017 Giro d’Italia winner Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo Visma) and multiple ‘Monument’ one-day Classics winner, Philippe Gilbert (Lotto Soudal).
WiV SunGod were represented by the following riders in order below: Rob Scott, Matthew Teggart, Gruff Lewis, Reece Wood, Jacob Scott, Ollie Wood and returning after illness, Rory Townsend.
- Team Presentation
The weather was grim with snow and perishing winds in the early stages though conditions improved as the race progressed.
- WiV SunGod riders at the Start
Renowned breakaway rider Thomas de Gendt (Lotto Soudal) spent many kilometres on the front of the peloton, gradually whittling away at the number of riders in the leading group. Unfortunately due to the impact of crashes and mechanical issues, it was only Ollie Wood and Rory Townsend who were still in contention with 30km remaining (as described by Townsend below).
- Typical Volta Limburg Parcours
With about 15km remaining Dumoulin forced a break of 6 riders on the last categorised climb. Ollie Wood fought valiantly to try and bring the break back, but the leading group steadily built up a lead of one minute.
- Tom Dumoulin forges the decisive 6-rider break
Just turned 20-years old Arnaud de Lie (Lotto Soudal) who has impressed with two wins already this year, was first into the closing corner and with his proven sprinting prowess saw off the rest of the break.
- Arnaud de Lie takes a convincing win
Townsend finished strongly taking 12th place on the line with Ollie Wood close behind in 20th place. The only other WiV SunGod rider to finish was Jacob Scott in 69th.
After 5 hours in the saddle over the hilly terrain in the cold and the wind, it was an exceedingly hard day out. Townsend and Ollie Wood can take heart in their strong performances with Reece Wood unfortunate to experience a mechanical problem late on in the race.
- Reece Wood grimaces in the sleet
Post race, Townsend posted on Instagram as follows:
“Big day out 190k – 3140m – 5000kj burned. One way to stay warm at least with the snow coming down – bib legs was the best decision I’ve made this year.
Tough conditions and terrain made for a selective race, a couple of crashes added to this and unfortunately we lost @jakerscott14 @grufflewis and @matthew_teggart all in one hit.
The Woods and I made it through and into the final selection, but then lost @reecewood to a mechanical. I was relatively lucky, needing a new bike, but at a good moment.
Having followed a lot of the moves towards the end, I couldn’t follow what was the winning one in the end. @olliewood95 did a phenomenal job to almost bring it back, but we couldn’t quite get to them.
The final sprint from our group was messy, and it was a bit of a disappointment to roll in 12th having had good legs, and Ollie sacrificed his race for me. Nevertheless, even with the weather, really enjoyed the race, and it’s good to be back at the pointy end.”
Pictures: Unattributed from Twitter
Report: Paul & Marina Stedman