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Charlotte Kool wins opening prologue at Simac Ladies Tour

In the opening prologue of the Simac Ladies Tour, held in Ede in the Netherlands, Team DSM-Firmenich’s Charlotte Kool triumphed against the odds. Although strong contenders like Demi Vollering, Lotte Kopecky, and Lorena Wiebes put forth commendable times, none could match the 24-year-old Kool, who has now notched up her twelfth win of the season.

The heart of Ede became a battleground for the opening stage of the premier multi-day Dutch cycling event for women. The cyclists had to navigate a 2.4-kilometre course featuring numerous tricky corners. The course was also the site for a prologue two years ago where Marianne Vos took the crown, although she is absent this year.

Top athletes like World Champion Lotte Kopecky, Lorena Wiebes, and Annemiek van Vleuten, who will retire after this race, drew a lot of initial attention. But the spotlight was stolen early on by Lieke Nooijen. The 22-year-old Dutch rider from Parkhotel Valkenburg set a time of 3:16, establishing an early benchmark. Nooijen held the lead for a brief period, but the heavy-hitters were yet to come.

Annemiek van Vleuten soon shattered that time by three seconds, clocking 3:13. However, her joy was short-lived, as Elisa Balsamo crossed the line one second quicker with a time of 3:12, earning her a momentary spell in the hot seat. Riejanne Markus of Jumbo-Visma then raised the bar even higher, setting a 3:08 time that moved the target further away for most. Demi Vollering managed a close 3:10, while Lorena Wiebes was just a second behind Markus at 3:09.

All eyes then turned to World Road Champion Lotte Kopecky. Kopecky clocked a respectable time of 3:08, but it was Kool who upset all the calculations. She crossed the line at an astonishing 3:04, which was four seconds faster than her nearest competitor. Kool’s groundbreaking time left her rivals grasping at straws and solidified her position as the first leader of the Simac Ladies Tour

Ultimately, it was a day of upsets and breakthroughs with Kool bagging the first position, Markus settling for second, and Kopecky taking the third spot. Vollering and Wiebes from SD Worx made it to the top five, while van Vleuten ended up in twelfth place.

2023 Simac Ladies Tour Stage 1 result

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Main photo credit: Cor Vos