Australian Sarah Roy has sprinted to fourth place at AG Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne today, her third consecutive top-5 finish following a career-best performance for fifth at the Tour of Flanders on Sunday.
Roy was well positioned all day and was the sole Mitchelton-SCOTT rider to make the decisive split in the final 15km run-in.
Jolien D’Hoore (Boels-Dolmans) narrowly won the sprint, but was later relegated for deviating from her line. Lorena Wiebes (Team Sunweb) was declared the winner, with Roy’s initial fifth placing elevated to fourth.
One big group:
Flat and windy conditions made for high tension in the bunch as they rolled out for a 152km day in the saddle.
Racing faster than the fastest predicted time schedule, the race remained mostly together for the first 80km, despite the efforts of Mitchelton-SCOTT, before a couple of crashes disrupted the rhythm.
Despite the aggression and attacks increasing in the final 50km, including another split with 30km to go, the peloton remained largely together into the final 20km.
As the kilometres ticked down you’d have been forgiven for predicting a mass bunch sprint, but with 15km remaining the right wind and an injection of pace saw the peloton split into pieces.
Roy was well-positioned and contributed to the workload at the front of the race. A lull in cooperation allowed a small chase group to re-join but a reduced group sprint prevailed.
D’Hoore took the sprint ahead of Wiebes but was later relegated and as a result Roy’s initial fifth place was also bumped up to fourth.
“It was good to make the final split there, I was a bit outnumbered as a lot of the other sprinters, apart from (Lotte) Kopecky, had teammates there but I tried to focus on positioning.
“It was a super-fast race all day. My goal today was to improve my sprint positioning, so I really tried to stick to Kopecky’s wheel today which I did. That was a process goal achieved, but she wasn’t the right wheel to be on today and so it’s another fifth place.”
Martin Vestby – Sport director:
“On the first full lap we had a really good try there and broke the peloton in pieces, I think we surprised a lot of riders, but it came back together.
“Then we had numbers in the front and were really competitive. We expected it to happen in the same place on the last lap and it did, but we had a couple of riders in the wrong position and if you’re not in that top-10 to 15 then you’re gone.
“At the end when Roy was there alone, and especially with Sunweb and Boels with so many riders, we had to pick something and in that situation it was best for us to wait for the sprint.
“We committed to some good things and we’re seeing progression with a lot of the riders and understanding of these races so we should be happy in general and it’s nice to see Roy in such steady form.”
2020 AG Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne – Results
1. Lorena Wiebes (Team Sunweb)
2. Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit-WNT)
3. Lotte Kopecky (Lotto Soudal)
4. Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-SCOTT)
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.