Pascal Eenkhoorn beats Hoole and wins the 2022 National Championships

Pascal Eenkhoorn has won the Dutch National Championships cycling 2022. On the VAM mountain, the rider of Jumbo-Visma beat Daan Hoole (Trek-Segafredo), with whom he had ridden away from a sizeable leading group with 26 kilometers from the finish.

Two days after Bauke Mollema became the new Dutch time trial champion, it was time for the road race for elite men. Unlike other years, the race was already held on Friday instead of Sunday: just twenty kilometers north of the NK route around the VAM mountain, the TT in Assen was already on the agenda for the weekend. It suited the riders who also participate in the Tour de France, because it will start on Friday instead of Saturday next week.

The course started in Westerbork and then led to the circuit over the VAM mountain. This full fourteen-kilometer lap, which had to be completed thirteen times in total, covered both climbs of the hill and passed through the village of Drijber. Including the approach loop, the route was 194.5 kilometers long. Timo Roosen appeared as defending champion at the start. The fast man from Jumbo-Visma rode solo to his first national title with the pros a year ago. Sjoerd Bax of Metec-SOLARWATT was then second, Oscar Riesebeek (Alpecin-Fenix) was third.

After a lively initial phase, a leading group of sixteen drives away
At a quarter past one the race was started under rainy conditions. Once the riders were on the local lap, the VAM mountain immediately sparked action. Various leading groups, including an active Tom Dumoulin, tried to break free from the peloton in the first laps of the race, but everything was taken back. It was only after an hour of racing that a sizeable leading group of sixteen managed to get away and create a serious gap with the rest.

photo: Cor Vos

This group consisted of Timo Roosen, Mick van Dijke, Tom Dumoulin, David Dekker, Sam Oomen (Jumbo-Visma), Daan Hoole (Trek-Segafredo), Lars van den Berg (Groupama-FDJ), Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché) , Arvid de Kleijn (Human Powered Health), Oscar Riesebeek (Alpecin-Fenix), Martijn Budding (Riwal), Bart Lemmen, Coen Vermeltfoort (VolkerWessels), Stijn Daemen, Bram Dissel (BEAT Cycling) and Nils Sinschek (ABLOC). They took more than a minute ahead of the peloton.

In the fifth lap Dekker had made a gap on the rest of the leading group, but this break was undone a lap later. Behind the leading group, a second group of fourteen drove away, including Tim van Dijke, Mike Teunissen, Jos van Emden, Olav Kooij, Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Bram Welten, Ramon Sinkeldam ( Groupama-FDJ), Jan Maas (BikeExchange), Corné van Kessel (Intermarché) and Julius van den Berg (EF).

Leading group breaks
The leading group did not function optimally and there was therefore a race. The loners tried to make the race hard, while Jumbo-Visma played out the numerical superiority: the team did not cooperate in the front of the race, but also not in the back of the race. In the eighth lap the leading group broke, with Dumoulin, Vermeltfoort, Daemen, Dissel and Sinschek going off in front. They fluttered back into the second group. In the ninth round, Teunissen and Sinkeldam jumped towards the leading group, which therefore consisted of thirteen men.

photo: Cor Vos

Eenkhoorn also managed to jump to the leading group, so that Jumbo-Visma had six men in front. From that moment on, the Dutch WorldTeam started to play to keep the others, who drove half a minute behind, behind. In the tenth lap and at the beginning of the eleventh it remained restless and Dekker had to leave the front. At 38 kilometers from the finish, Van der Hoorn attacked, but the acceleration of the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert driver was immediately parried by Jumbo-Visma.

Van den Berg then tried and the Groupama-FDJ rider got Mick van Dijke with him. They saw Teunissen, Oomen, Eenkhoorn, Hoole, Riesebeek and Lemmen join. Roosen, Van der Hoorn, De Kleijn, Budding and Sinkeldam were also able to return. Just before the second-to-last passage of the finish, Riesebeek tried, forcing Budding off. The leading group then consisted of only twelve men. In the meantime, it was clear that the winner was at the front.

Hoole attacks and gets Unicorn along
Hoole accelerated at 26 kilometers from the finish and Eenkhoorn jumped along. Behind it, the course was paralyzed by Jumbo-Visma, which tried to defend Eenkhoorn’s flight. The others just didn’t want to accept the situation and Van der Hoorn started the counterattack. Eenkhoorn, who already rode the Giro d’Italia this season, and Hoole, third in the Dutch Time Trial Championships, worked well together and went all out. Moreover, it came to a stop behind them at 22 kilometers from the finish, so the front runners went for the win.

photo: Cor Vos

Eenkhoorn and Hoole started the last lap with thirty seconds on Teunissen, Oomen and Riesebeek – and a little further on Van der Hoorn and Lemmen. The front runners couldn’t stop and never did. Two kilometers from the finish they started the last two climbs on the VAM mountain. It came to the final uphill stretch where Eenkhoorn finished it off with a powerful sprint. Hoole had to settle for second place. Van der Hoorn rode shortly behind to third place.