The cobbled classics reached their climax today at Ronde van Vlaanderen; known for its many climbs and tricky narrow roads. Leaving the start in Oudenaarde, there were multiple attacks but the peloton kept them close and the race was all together heading into the final 75 kilometres.
The team were riding well as a unit and to the fore as the kilometres ticked by, before the bunch split on the Kanarieberg, with Liane Lippert and Floortje Mackaij making the front group. The pressure remained on throughout the afternoon as the group was forced to chase lone-leader Cordon-Ragot, with Mackaij attempting to attack and bridge but things came back together.
On the famous Oude Kwaremont, the decisive move was made with the group splintering. Mackaij made it into the second chase group on the road but after the difficult Paterberg that followed, they weren’t able to catch back up to those ahead. Mackaij gave it her best in the sprint for the minor places from that group, finishing just outside the top 15 on the line.
“It was a tough race again, and of course a pretty long one,” explained Mackaij. “In the beginning we stayed close together well. Juliette had a small crash but luckily it was nothing bad. Juliette, Liane and I could then save our legs for the real final. It was pretty hard and started from Kanarieberg onwards. We weren’t directly in a position to react but in the end Liane and I made it into the front group where the speed remained high for the rest of the day. On the Kwaremont there was a big explosion with the real favourites and I ended up in a group behind to sprint for a top ten place; I think I finished just outside the top 15. In general we will take some points out of this race that we need to improve on for the next ones. We were of course aiming for a lot more here but I think our shape is going in the right direction and we’re all looking forward to being back in front and fighting for the podium again.”
|1||VAN VLEUTEN Annemiek||Movistar Team||4:01:11||400|
|2||BRENNAUER Lisa||Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling||0:26||320|
|3||BROWN Grace||Team BikeExchange||,,||260|