In the first Scheldeprijs for women, Grant Thornton-Krush Bikes-Tunap Sports was an active part of the race. The Belgian 1.1 race ended in a bunch sprint. In the hectic final Clara Lundmark rode to 20th place after 136 kilometres. Before that, Daniek Hengeveld’s Krush bike spent a long time in the picture with the television viewers. She unpacked with a solo attack of about forty kilometres, with which she garnered a lot of praise and put herself and the team in the picture.
In the first part of the race Hengeveld kept her gunpowder dry, but with just under fifty kilometres to go she stood on the pedals. “In the beginning there were many fans. That was really hectic and nail-biting. I noticed I wasn’t quite comfortable with it yet. You know, it’s only my third race in a whole new peloton, so for me that’s just something to work on.”
“But the longer the race, the better I often do,” Hengeveld continued. “In the local laps everyone had the idea that there could be no more fans. It was actually either a head wind, or a tailwind. It was raining and I thought, ‘I shouldn’t be in there’. That’s why I drove forward. When I got to the front, some riders rode off and I was able to slide along. When they kept their legs quiet, I tried again myself. And then I was gone.”
“I’m not a real sprinter anyway and in this hectic sprint I didn’t really have anything to look for. So in this race I just have to have it from the attack. Everyone said in advance that it was going to be a bunch sprint. I thought, yes, hello, I’m here. Then I want to be the person who shows that things can be done differently.” And Hengeveld was well gone when she placed her gear. She steadily built up her lead and at one point her lead was almost a minute and a half.
“It was still a long way to the finish, but when my lead was at one point a minute and a half I heard that in the peloton they thought of ‘oh, now we have to ride’. I didn’t look back and just kept focusing on the road. That took me quite a long way.” On the last passage over the cobblestones of the Broekstraat, Hengeveld was taken in by the peloton after almost forty kilometres of solo riding.”
“Clara’s sprint may not have been quite what we were hoping for, but luckily she was able to get some UCI points. I also think we learned a lot as a team. I think I showed myself and the team beautifully and that’s important. I’m going to try it more often anyway. And I think it’s going to work out on its own. I think they know who I am now, but they can. Everyone can know I’m here.”