Team Jumbo-Visma Women have ridden an offensive course in the final preparation race before the Tour of Flanders. The race was dominated by attacks from the peloton, including those of Anouska Koster and Julie Van de Velde.
The race over 122 kilometres contained as always a number of nasty slopes. The pace was high from the start, so no one could escape before the first hills. From the Kortekeer on the climbs and cobbled sections followed in rapid succession.
At 44 kilometres from the finish line, Koster attacked and was one of the few riders who managed to create a gap. Immediately after Koster was caught by the peloton, the Belgian rider Julie Van de Velde joined the breakaway. Together with five others, she got a twenty-four second lead, but this attempt also ended quickly. On the Knokteberg came the decisive attack by European champion Annemiek van Vleuten and Kasia Niewiadoma. They rode to the finish together and Van Vleuten went to take the win. After earlier efforts, the riders of Team Jumbo-Visma had to settle for a finish behind the first group.
Race coach Lieselot Decroix: “In addition to showing some good things today, it was above all an educational race. Our tactic was to attack, which Anouska and Julie did well. On the cobbled sections, we were positioned too far from the back, so we lost the connection. In retrospect, it was a real knockout race and we were in the first group with four riders for a long time.”