Balsamo Secures Classic Brugge-De Panne Victory as Kool Comes Second

Elisa Balsamo, riding for Lidl-Trek, claimed victory in the Classic Brugge-De Panne, marking her second win in the race after her 2022 triumph. Balsamo surged past Charlotte Kool of dsm-firmenich PostNL in a thrilling sprint on the Zeelaan in De Panne, with Daria Pikulik from Human Powered Health securing third place on the podium.

The race witnessed numerous breakaway attempts on the predominantly flat route, with the final solo effort from Nina Buijsman of FDJ-SUEZ being reeled in by dsm-firmenich PostNL with 6.5 kilometres remaining. But because there was no wind, most of the break attempts saw so daylight between them and the bunch. It was locked on to be a sprint and so it proved. The lead-out trains of Lidl-Trek and Team dsm-firmenich PostNL featured heavily in the final kilometres, with both delivering their prized riders to the finish in great positions.

Balsamo’s victory was orchestrated by impeccable teamwork from her squad, a sentiment she echoed in her post-race comments. “I am really happy and satisfied. I want to thank my teammates because they did a fantastic job, and I couldn’t have finished this race better,” Balsamo stated, acknowledging the crucial role played by her team in securing the win.

Reflecting on the intense sprint finish, Balsamo recounted, “My teammates did a great job; they always went into the breakaways and never let anyone go because we wanted this sprint finish, so I have to thank them.”

Charlotte Kool, disappointed with her second-place finish, praised her team’s efforts in setting up the sprint. “I knew it was going to be a very hard-fought sprint. My teammates did an amazing lead-out and put me in the best possible position behind Kool,” she remarked.

Despite the absence of challenging terrain, the race remained fiercely competitive, with riders battling for position ahead of the final sprint. “For me, starting behind Kool was the best choice, and then when I saw 200 metres, I just went full gas,” Balsamo revealed, describing her strategy for the sprint.

The Classic Brugge-De Panne unfolded as a tactical battle, with several breakaway attempts thwarted before the peloton ultimately regrouped for the anticipated bunch sprint. Balsamo’s triumph, coupled with her recent success at Trofeo Binda, underscores her prowess as a sprinter and bolsters her confidence for future races with Gent Wevelgem on Sunday.

Charlotte Kool and her dsm-firmenich PostNL teammates had high hopes for the Classic Brugge-De Panne, aiming to replicate their success from the previous year. However, despite a strong team effort and meticulous planning, they fell short in the final sprint, settling for second place.

Daria Pikulik’s impressive third-place finish also helps to cement her position among the world’s top sprinters. It’s only her 2nd year as a Women’s WorldTour rider and after taking notable victories in 2023 in Australia and China, this was a strong result on European roads.

2024 Women’s Classic Brugge-De Panne result

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