Floortje Mackaij raced to stage and GC success for Team DSM at the AG Tour de la Semois in Belgium today, sprinting to the win from a leading quartet after being brilliantly set up by the team in the finale.
The race headed for the Belgian hills once again today for the second and final stage at the AG Tour de la Semois, with a tricky 105 kilometre route from Bohan to Vresse-sur-Semois. The day would end on a circuit which contained the focal point of Col du Conrad, a two kilometre long climb which averaged eight percent, cresting with just over ten kilometres to go.
Like yesterday’s stage, it was a frenetic start to the day with multiple attacks as the bunch took on the rolling terrain. Franziska Koch once again found herself out front after some strong riding, making it into a group of six that held a one minute and 30 second lead over the peloton, making her the virtual leader of the race. However, the peloton kept the pace high and entering the local circuit and towards the first passage of the climb, the gap had fallen to just 25 seconds.
Liane Lippert launched a counter attack alongside Longo Borghini, and a whole host of other attacks flew from the peloton, with the race situation changing completely. After some brilliant riding the whole team made into a group of 23 riders at the front of the race, before the attacks started again. Floortje Mackaij launched a counter attack alongside three others and made the junction to the lone leader, with the quartet leading the yellow jersey group, where the rest of the team were, by 50 seconds with 20 kilometres to go. The gap continued to increase and it was clear Mackaij’s group would fight it out for the win.
It was tactical out front but Mackaij used all of her experience, measuring her effort well and waiting for the perfect moment to launch her sprint to the finish. Powering across the line Mackaij was able to raise her arms in celebration, taking a great stage win after a brilliant team performance, while also securing the GC title too; for Team DSM’s Women programme’s 13th and 14th wins of the year.
“There were several attacks in the beginning and Franzi was really sharp, and once again made the break, which is exactly what we wanted,” explained Mackaij. “Entering the small local laps with the hard climb, Trek were attacking and Liane bridged with Longo Borghini to the front group which was also good for us. On the descent it came together with everyone who was left from the bunch. From that moment when we hit the steep climb the next time, it was my turn. Coryn did a really good pace and I attacked, and over the top I managed to get two other girls with me and we caught the leader. I went pretty hard for one lap to get an advantage. The gap was then big enough and I could play the games a bit in the finale. It was really nice to be able to sprint and finish it off with a win and the GC, after a really good team effort today.”
Team DSM coach Albert Timmer said: “That was one out of the textbook today. We really played our numbers and cards well during the race in a nice way. We did a great job working together as a team and Coryn made good calls as a captain to make sure that we were always in a position that was beneficial for us, so we never had to chase. We were smart, alert and focused to be in a good group that we helped to create ourselves. Floortje was then able to finish it off brilliantly for us out front. I’m really happy with how it went today.”
|Canyon SRAM Racing