Amy Pieters gave the home country its fifth European Championships gold medal, parlaying a long three-up breakaway into victory on a windswept race in Alkmaar on Saturday. The 28-year-old topped Italy's Elena Cecchini and Lisa Klein (Germany) in a tense finale, repaying the faith of her Dutch squad who looked set to reel in the attack with two laps to go, but then eased off the gas in the last 10km and let the gap blow out. "This is really special, because it's close to my home. It's a good win," Pieters said.ADVERTISEMENT Pre-race favourite Lorena Wiebes (Netherlands) led home the chasing peloton ahead of Great Britain's Alice Barnes. The Dutch team came out hitting hard, flying off the line and attacking repeatedly in the opening laps. "It was a really hard race, early in the race with the whole national team we started in the first lap, and we kept going," Pieters said. "We had a hard head wind and also with the houses a lot of side wind, it was a really hard race." How it unfolded It was a sunny but very blustery day for the elite women's European Championships road race, with ten laps for a total of 115km on a pan-flat but technical 11.5km circuit. The Dutch team led the peloton off the line as if starting a cyclo-cross race, going flat out into the first lap and then peppering the field with attacks until a breakaway of three went clear.
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