Charlotte Kool secured victory once more on the third day of the Baloise Ladies Tour. For this Team dsm-firmenich cyclist, it marks her third win in as many race days after wins yesterday and in the prologue. In the sprint, she outpaced Anna Henderson and Emma Norsgaard, who finished in second and third place, respectively.
The third stage of the Baloise Ladies Tour had a smattering of uphill stretches in the first half of the 116.2-kilometre route, but the final seventy kilometres of five local laps were very flat. The flat ride to and from Zulte thus appeared to assure a mass sprint in advance. The cobblestones provided the greatest challenge to the riders along the way and the race did split a few times only to come back together.
On the third day of the race, it was Alia Shafi of the US national team who initiated the action. In the first of the local laps, the American cyclist broke away, soon followed by Sofie van Rooijen and Marieke de Groot. Marion Norbert Riberolle also tried to chase across but it proved to be a chasse patate. However, their efforts proved futile. Despite getting close to a minute’s advantage, the trio was caught forty kilometres prior to the finish. Audrey De Keersmaeker of De Ceuster was clear for the best part of a lap but even her solo move couldn’t make anything stick.
A mass sprint thus seemed unavoidable. In the closing kilometres, much like the previous day, a significant crash stirred up chaos. Lifeplus-Wahoo seemed most affected with Margaux Vigie and April Tacey suffering wounds to knees and elbows and Thalita de Jong staying down for a long time afterwards. All eventually did finish the stage.
Pre-stage favourite Charlotte Kool managed to avoid the crash and demonstrated her supremacy in the group sprint. She once again proved to be the strongest of the pack and pulled out several lengths over her rivals. With 3 wins in 3 stages, the Dutch cyclist retains her lead in the overall classification, Brand stays 2nd ahead of Emma Norsgaard. The first change is Anna Henderson sneaking ahead of Jenny Rissveds into 4th.
“Today was hard to control. The other teams never made it easy for us but the girls were outstanding. Especially Nienke, who had ten lives today and what she did together with the other girls in the final is really impressive. We managed to get the bunch back together and controlled in the last lap. Then Daniek put me in a perfect position and I could do a perfect sprint, to finish off all the hard work. For the girls it’s not easy at all but they are amazing and I’m proud of them.”Charlotte Kool
2023 Baloise Ladies Tour Stage 2 result
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