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Charlotte Kool maintains streak by winning morning 3a Baloise Ladies Tour stage

Charlotte Kool of Team dsm-firmenich continued her triumphant performance at the Baloise Women’s Tour, earning her fourth successive victory in stage 3a on Saturday morning. Lucinda Brand from Lidl-Trek team claimed second place, while Emma Norsgaard from Movistar secured third in a mass sprint at Knokke-Heist. That ensured that the top 3 in GC remained the same as yesterday’s stage going into the penultimate stage time trial.

The 82km road race marked the beginning of the two-stage Saturday and will be followed by a 17.6km individual time trial later today. Brand managed to outpace Norsgaard at the finish line, thus securing the second overall position but trailing Kool by 20 seconds. Norsgaard, the Danish rider, remains third overall, trailing by 24 seconds. Both riders are strong time triallists though so will be looking to close that gap this afternoon.

Once again, Team dsm-firmenich dominated the day, successfully reeling in an early escape attempt by Sofie Van Rooijen from Parkhotel Valkenburg and Ellen Klinge from Carbonbike Giordana by Gen Z with less than 25 kilometres left. In the final local lap, a leading group of around 40 cyclists paved the way for a mass sprint. As exhaustion spread through the peloton, all five riders from Team dsm-firmenich sped up in a crosswind area, splitting the leading group and setting up Kool for a sprint finish which she finished off easily.

A crash near the back of the peloton saw Lotto Dstny riders affected and Sara Maes’ bike missing a chunk of its seat stay on one side. Currently, Kool dons the purple leader’s jersey and will be the final participant in the time trial. She also tops the points classification and has the best Dutch rider orange jersey. Meanwhile, Sofie Van Rooijen, who garnered three points in the Saturday morning stage, now holds the yellow intermediate sprints jersey. Fien Van Eynde from Fenix-Deceuninck is acknowledged as the best Belgian rider with the green jersey while Julia Kopecky from AG Insurance-NXTG U23 Team maintains her status in green and white as the best young rider.

“The team today were so impressive, it was crazy. Everyone here is so strong and we did everything close to perfect today; closing the break, then in the echelons and then in the sprint. It’s amazing that we’re able to do this with such a young team and it’s an honour to be the person finishing it off.”

Charlotte Kool

2023 Baloise Ladies Tour Stage 3a result

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