Kathrin Schweinberger triumphs at Dwars door de Westhoek as Hanson finishes second

Kathrin Schweinberger claimed victory at the 2024 Dwars door de Westhoek, out-sprinting Lauretta Hanson in the final metres to secure her first win of the season. The two riders had broken away during the closing laps, holding off the chasing group to contest the win. Lily Williams rounded out the podium, taking third place with a strong sprint from the chasing pack.

The 134km race, beginning and ending in Boezinge, featured five WorldTour teams. The early stages included three rolling laps with the Monteberg climb, where Lidl-Trek set a fierce pace in the windy conditions, splitting the peloton into several groups.

Schweinberger recounted, “We had to be in front at the beginning, and it was a really big fight with a few crashes also. It was a hard race, but it was also a really nice race.”

In the race’s final phase, Hanson and Schweinberger made their decisive move. Chased by a group of eight, including three of Hanson’s team-mates and one for Schweinberger, they maintained a lead of just over half a minute into the final 10 kilometres, setting up a head-to-head battle for victory.

“They [Lidl-Trek] were riding a really good pace and sometimes they went to the front all together and made it really hard,” Schweinberger explained. “At the end, we knew the attacks would start, and we tried to follow. Luckily, one worked out that I was in, and we worked really well together and we came to the finish together.”

In the sprint finish on a smooth cobbled road, Schweinberger led out, with Hanson unable to come around, allowing the Austrian to take her first win in Belgium.

“It really, really means a lot for me to win today,” Schweinberger said. “It’s my first victory in Belgium. I have a few second places and a few third places, so I was doubting a little bit if I could win a race ever, but today I proved myself wrong that I can win a race, and it’s really a booster for me now.”

Lily Williams of Human Powered Health, who finished third, was pleased with her performance. “I’m really happy with my sprint. As soon as it started, I felt I would win it, which is a really nice feeling, especially to get the podium spot for the team after missing that final move.”

Reflecting on the race, Williams added, “I excel in the sprints when people are fatigued. I was willing to back myself, especially since our attacks were not succeeding and were hard efforts.”

Williams praised her team-mate Alice Wood’s role, saying, “I love racing with Alice; she is one of the most experienced riders in the peloton. I’m not sure I’ve done a race with her where she has missed the split. She knows where to be and what to do, and I am always interested in her feedback and tactics.”

Maud Rijnbeek of AG Insurance-Soudal secured a top ten finish, claiming ninth place. Reflecting on the race, Rijnbeek said, “We had already expected that it would be a fast race from the start due to the wind, but it broke up even quicker than we thought. We were well positioned and divided the work well. Despite my many attack attempts, I couldn’t escape. I ultimately finished ninth. I felt great throughout the race and felt very strong. It’s a pity I couldn’t get away, but I’m very happy with how I rode and that I gave it my all!”

2024 Dwars Door de Westhoek result

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

Main photo credit: Daan van Overveld

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