At the Flèche Wallonne she had been hit by an unfortunate puncture when there were only 11 kilometres to go and she couldn’t fight for a good result, but today Katia Ragusa managed to bounce back with a great performance at Brabantse Pijl. The 23-year-old from Italy has always been in the heat of the race, even trying an attack in first person when there were about 45 kilometres to go: the move of Ragusa was brought back by the peloton of the main favourites, but the youngster of the Astana Women’s Team was always able to remain in the top positions and finished the race 1’19” behind the winner Grace Brown in the small group that took part in a sprint for the fourth position. After 121 kilometres and 19 climbs, Ragusa still had the strength to go and conquer a good eighth position at the finish line.
In the same reduced bunch of Katia Ragusa, the Cuban champion Arlenis Sierra was also present after a long and hard chase. The 27-year-old from Manzanillo was forced to change bikes due to a derailleur problem at the foot of one of the many climbs of the route at about 40 kilometres from the finish line: a long series of attacks began in the group in that precise moment and Sierra took much longer than normal to re-join the peloton and wasted a lot of energy. In the last kilometres Arlenis Sierra was there again, but on the short final straight of Overijse she did not have the strength to sprint and had to settle for thirteenth position: the result that still is a good sign ahead of the Gent-Wevelgem that the Cuban cyclist has in the sights since weeks.