It was something of a premiere for Amber Kraak (Team Jumbo-Visma), who was part of the finale at the Classic Lorient Agglomération – Ceratizit Trophy. The former rower eventually finished second behind Mavi García (UAE Team ADQ) after attacking with the Spanish champion on the final kilometres.
“I can certainly live with a second place, that is a very nice result. For me, it was one of the first times that I could play a role in the final, and that went quite well,” Kraak said after the race.
“Because of my limited experience I didn’t play the game well. I did not dare to look back as I was afraid that the group would come back. It was a bit on the safe side. Next time I will make it a bit harder for García on the finish line.”
Kraak was right on García’s wheel when the Spaniard attacked with 3.2km to go but would not take any turns, and the move was short-lived. García then attacked again with 1500 metres to go, and Kraak followed her.
Nobody was willing and able to close them down immediately, and the two riders took turns to open a gap. Kraak went to the front again about 350 metres from the line to keep up the pace when she could have gambled a bit and forced García to lead. Instead, the 38-year-old García – herself a lateral entrant to pro cycling as a former runner – had no trouble sprinting past for the victory.
Kraak is in her first full season as a pro cyclist. Previously, she was part of the Netherlands’ Olympic rowing team and switched to cycling, joining Team Jumbo-Visma halfway through the 2021 season. Learning by doing was and still is a big part of Kraak’s cycling career. At first, she took support roles in the beginning of races, then managed to stay with the best for longer and longer.
In early April, she soloed to victory at the non-UCI race Volta Limburg Classic, becoming the successor of Demi Vollering (Team SD Worx) who had won the race’s last edition in 2019. At the Tour of Scandinavia earlier in August, the entire Jumbo-Visma team including Marianne Vos committed to securing Kraak the mountain jersey as a reward for her selfless support, and she wore the jersey from start to finish.
The second place in the Classic Lorient Agglomération is Kraak’s best result to date. With García, she initiated the move that caught lone escapee Sara Martín (Movistar Team) on the finishing circuit around Plouay, then attacked on the climb to Le Lezot on the final lap but did not get away.
“For the first time, I was able to save myself in the beginning of the race. Linda [Riedmann] was in a good breakaway, but the chase by FDJ and Canyon brought everything back together.
“After that, Linda did a good lead-out at the foot of the climb, then I attacked and ended up in the front group. I felt fresh on the climbs and worked hard to keep the breakaway going,” she described the race.