Alice Barnes sprinted to eighth at Exterioo Classic Brugge – De Panne today in Belgium. The CANYON//SRAM Racing rider again showed her consistent form with another top ten in the sprinter’s classic. That means Barnes has only once finished outside the top ten in her 2022 season so far.
“It was a tricky finish,” explains Alice.
“Tiff and I were in a good position. She followed me allowing me to choose the wheels and she was there to help whenever I needed it. We lost each other in the last few kilometres and then Shari was able to help me. It was tough because the pace was high and it was a long line of riders. I had to go quite deep from the last corner which didn’t help my final sprint.”
“I went to start my sprint early but at the same moment, some riders moved across to my side of the road and closed the gap. From there, I was just hanging on for the best position possible. I am happy to be there fighting but obviously had hoped for more than eighth today,” adds Alice.
TIFFANY CROMWELL TALKS THROUGH THE RACE
“We were realistic in that we knew we didn’t have the firepower here to make a lead-out for her. Unfortunately, we have a few of our powerhouse riders who thrive on flat and technical races like this one out with injury or illness,” admits Tiffany.
“Losing Ella early on due to a crash meant we were then down to four riders. Shari was caught behind another crash with 20km to go. But it was great to see Pauliena step in and help Alice to help get her back to the front and in position at an important moment.”
“In the final part of the race, we focused on looking after Alice and putting her in the best position possible. We managed this pretty well for the most part. I’m missing a little bit when it comes to a final lead out at the moment. So the plan was to look after Alice and put her on a good wheel so she could sprint from there.”
“We were sitting in a really good position in the last few kilometres until some road furniture pushed us out and we lost each other. We didn’t lose too many positions and I was able to come back to Alice. But then had to avoid another crash with 1.5km to go which took me out of being able to help further. Shari was able to step in then. Given all the circumstances, a top ten for Alice was probably the best we were able to achieve today as a team.”
“For me personally, I was happy with how my race went after a three-week training block. It did take a little bit of time to get my flow back in the bunch. But in the second half of the race, I was feeling more comfortable and where I needed to be.”
“We’ll be back on Sunday and pushing again for the podium and a victory,” says Tiffany.
Ella Harris was forced to abandon the race in a crash and was taken to the hospital for assessment. A further update will be provided when her condition is confirmed by the medical team.