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Kristen Faulkner Dominates Omloop van het Hageland with 65km Solo Raid

Kristen Faulkner 2024 Omloop van het Hageland (Cor Vos)

American cyclist Kristen Faulkner showcased an impressive performance at the Omloop van het Hageland, embarking on a solo effort spanning 65 kilometres on her way to clinching her first victory in the pink of EF Education-Cannondale. After a challenging day marked by crashes and misfortune at Omloop het Nieuwsblad, the EF team was determined to bounce back, and indeed they did.

Once the race commenced, the entire team remained focused on the task at hand. They ensured Kristen stayed in an ideal position, and when there were 65 kilometres remaining, she launched her decisive attack.

“I didn’t want to go solo,” Faulkner stated after the race. “I attacked and no one came with me, but I was trying to get a group going so that was initially the goal. Alison [Jackson] was huge in helping me get in position at the beginning of the race.”

Kristen Faulkner
(Photo Credit: Rafa Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency)

Despite the challenging circumstances, Faulkner’s gamble paid off. She bridged over to the solo rider Nora Jencusova of BePink-Bongioanni ahead and continued to push the pace, eventually finding herself alone in the lead and never looking back.

“Kristen did an amazing ride today. She gambled and took a chance today,” remarked sports director Daniel Foder. “The whole team worked really hard to control the peloton and block the road a little bit which really took the motivation away from the other teams. Before you knew it, she had a four-minute gap and then it was too late. Kristen was out in the front, but this really was a team effort.”

Reflecting on her unexpected win, Faulkner shared, “That’s what happens when you don’t expect it, you’re more relaxed. I think that since this race normally wouldn’t suit me, I came in feeling really relaxed and I was totally willing to take a risk. I took a risk and it worked.”

This year’s Omloop van het Hageland podium featuring (l-r) Mischa Bredewold, Kristen Faulkner and Pfeiffer Georgi
(Photo Credit: Mark Van Hecke/Getty Images)

The victory not only brought joy but also surprise to Faulkner, who acknowledged the challenging nature of the race and the team’s exceptional performance.

“It was a real spring classic-style race,” commented Alison Jackson, who was among the first to congratulate Faulkner at the finish. “We had some good focus points as a team, and I think we controlled the race really well. Kristen had an amazing ride, which I wish meant it made it easy for me, but it was still a really hard race. We just focused on slowing things down and giving her the best chance possible.”

Behind Kristen Faulkner, a late attack saw a small group go clear with Mischa Bredewold outsprinting Pfeiffer Georgi for the podium spots. They’d both been part of a move which proved to kill off the chase earlier on as their teams struggled to know what the best path was.

2024 Omloop van het Hageland result

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Main photo credit: Cor Vos