The peloton set out this morning from Waregem, venturing out into the Belgian countryside to take on several climbs and cobbles that were littered throughout the 122 kilometre long route. Several attacks were made at the start of the day but no breakaway was able to establish itself and as the race headed into second half of the day, it was all still together, with Julia Soek, Lorena Wiebes and Pfeiffer Georgi doing some good positioning work for the team.
Over the top of the Steenbeekdries and Taaienberg, Liane Lippert rode prominently towards the front of the bunch for the team, covering any dangerous attacks before going on the offensive herself on the Berg Ten Houte. That move was brought back and the race reset as it headed towards the next climbs on the menu, with Floortje Mackaij and Juliette Labous also present in the now very reduced peloton.
On the tough ascent of the Côte de Trieu, Van Vleuten and Niewiadoma would make what would turn out to be the race winning move, getting clear of the peloton. Lippert, Mackaij and Labous would dig deep on the steep ascent and make it into the chasing peloton. The final 35 kilometres saw a hard chase and some tactical racing but the duo out front would fight it out for the win. Behind, Lippert and Labous worked to set up Mackaij for the finale but unfortunately Lippert was involved in a small crash at two kilometres to go, but managed to get back on the bike okay and finish the race. Mackaij gave it her all in the sprint for the final podium position, crossing the line for a good seventh place.
“Julia did a great ride to position us perfectly in the first part of the race,” explained Mackaij at the finish. “At a very import point in the race though we all had to spent a bit too much energy to come back, with only Liane on the front group. Then on the Côte de Trieu, Annemiek went with Kasia and we we weren’t able to follow them. In the end, Liane, Juliette and I were there in the first big chasing group, fighting for the podium. Unfortunately, Liane had a crash in the last two kilometres. In the end I managed to sprint to 7th place which as an okay result as it was a hard day in the saddle with the warmer weather.”
|1||VAN VLEUTEN Annemiek||Movistar Team||3:04:04||125|
|2||NIEWIADOMA Katarzyna||Canyon SRAM Racing||,,||85|
|3||RYAN Alexis||Canyon SRAM Racing||0:19||70|