A relentless 106 km course that was constantly up and down with some extremely technical descents was raced full-gas from the very beginning.
As the first attacks were flying, Rally Cycling’s women were active in various moves, but none stuck.
Doebel-Hickok commented on the early action.
“I could see that no breakaway groups were going to get away early and that the race would come down to the two finishing laps of the circuit.”
At long last, Chloe Hosking broke away from the peloton and was off the front alone entering the final finishing circuit. She capitalized on some complacency in the bunch but eventually, riders attempted to bridge from the peloton and Doebel-Hickok was able to tag the right one, riding on the counter-attackers’ coat-tails to join her teammate at the front of the race.
From there, a heroic final turn from Hosking pulling the escape paved the way for Doebel-Hickok to attack in the company of two riders from Ciclismo Mondial. She gapped them on the descent, but by the final straight the leading trio had come back together. The numerical advantage held and Doebel-Hickok had to settle for third after the other two riders refused to work in the closing kilometres as a chasing group closed in.
Speaking after the race, Doebel-Hickok said.
“Hell yeah, we’re racing now! This team is coming together and I’m proud and excited to line up with them again tomorrow. Maybe I can give back to Chloe a bit what she gave to me today.”
Sara Poidevin finished 10th after coming home in a group just 11 seconds behind the winners.
Tomorrow the women’s team will be joined by the men at GP Isbergues, a flatter course that should suit the talents of the sprinters.
Trophée des Grimpeuses results
1 VAN DER HEIJDEN Inge Ciclismo Mondial 2:56:11
2 KASTELIJN Yara Ciclismo Mondial ”
3 DOEBEL-HICKOK Krista Rally Cycling Women “
4 PLICHTA Anna Trek-Segafredo Women 0:05
5 VAS Kata Blanka Doltcini – Van Eyck Sport ”
6 KOSTER Anouska Parkhotel Valkenburg 0:11
7 PEPERKAMP Esmée Loving Potatoes Ladies DJR Cycling Team ”
8 VAN ALPHEN Aniek Ciclismo Mondial ”
9 LUDWIG Hannah Canyon SRAM Racing ”
10 POIDEVIN Sara Rally Cycling Women “