Lorena Wiebes sprints to brilliant 3rd at Omloop after attacking team display

Lorena Wiebes sprints to brilliant 3rd at Omloop after attacking team display

The Classics got underway this afternoon at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, where the bunch were faced with a typically challenging 128 kilometre long parcours from Ghent to Ninove. With several punchy climbs throughout the day, both of the cobbled and non-cobbled variety, it was set to be a hard day out.

It was a steady start to the race and a six rider group forged clear, with all Team DSM riders in the peloton, keeping their powder dry for what was to come. Despite building up an over three minute lead, the attackers were caught and the race was all back together heading into the last 50 kilometres. Setting out with a plan, the team wanted to race aggressively and so they did, with Liane Lippert putting in a strong counter attack on the Leberg, dragging clear three other riders.

Working well as a group, and aided by some good teamwork behind, they built up a lead of one minute but the teams that missed out eventually got organised and began a fierce chase. Heading towards the famous Muur van Geraardsbergen the gap had fallen to just 16 seconds, with Lippert climbing brilliantly to crest the ascent in the now leading trio, with groups of riders trying to bridge from behind. It came back together at the front just before the last ascent of the day, the Bosberg, where Van Vleuten and Vollering would push on. Lippert gave it her all to close the gap but the duo out front crested the climb with a lead. As a result, there was little cooperation in Lippert’s chasing group as both riders had teammates in there who disrupted the chase, and eventually the drastically reduced peloton, which included Floortje Mackaij and Lorena Wiebes returned inside the final three kilometres.

Lippert and Mackaij both then did strong pulls to help set-up Wiebes, who produced a dominant kick to “win” the sprint from the bunch and claiming the final spot on the podium for the team – a great reward for some strong racing by everyone today.

“We started quite easy today,” explained Wiebes after the finish. “Charlotte and Franzi did a really good job of positioning us towards the key points. Liane then took the right decision to go with the break. We were behind in a good position ready for any new attacks. For me it was super hard on the Muur but I was happy to come back in Floortje’s group on the Bosberg. We did a good job to try and chase it out down but just two girls were stronger today. I’m really happy to take the bunch sprint. It was a long sprint today but it was nice to win the bunch sprint and take home the third place for the team.”

Team DSM coach Huub Duijn added: “The whole team was really motivated to start the classics season on a high today. With a strong squad we knew we would have a good chance to be up there in the final. We really rode as a team today, with a lot of good communication and everyone had their share in getting a podium place with Lorena. Charlotte, as a new rider, was great in positioning her teammates before the difficult moments. Franziska and Liane then covered attacks in the pre-final, with Liane making it into the front in a strong break that almost made it to the finish. Behind her group in the peloton, Franzi and later also Pfeiffer helped to bring Floortje and Lorena in a good position toward the Muur with 15 kilometres to go. Over the Muur and later the Bosberg, two riders got away from Liane’s group, then behind Floortje went all-out to help Lorena set up for the sprint which she took a great third place for us.”