Floortje Mackaij showed her metal to fight her way back into contention twice and finish in the top 15 in an aggressive women’s Ronde van Vlaanderen.
With 30 kilometres left in the race, the team worked hard to position Mackaij towards the front of the bunch before the penultimate cobbled climb, the Kruisberg.
After the climb, Mackaij found herself distanced from the leading selection but her persistence was rewarded when a cat and mouse action at the front slowed the bunch and allowed her to regain contact with 22 kilometres remaining.
Mackaij dug as deep as she could to stick with the leaders three kilometres later on the famous Kwaremont, but over the top of the cobbled climb the elastic snapped and Mackaij was once again in a chasing position.
In a show of sheer strength and determination, Mackaij managed to re-join the leaders just in time to contest the finale. Her group sprinted for the minor placings and Mackaij notched 12th place with Chantal Van den Broek-Blaak taking the victory solo.
Earlier in the race, Coryn Rivera and Liane Lippert joined a spirited chase group in pursuit of the day’s breakaway, but with no leeway given by the peloton the pair dropped back to conserve energy for the latter part of the race.