Lucinda Brand from Lidl-Trek emerged as the winner of the evening time trial in the Baloise Ladies Tour. The Dutch rider outpaced British Anna Henderson from Jumbo-Visma by fourteen seconds. Charlotte Kool from Team DSM-Firmenich, who had won all previous stages, ended outside the top ten and thereby lost her leader’s jersey. She is now 5th in GC with one stage to go.
The billiard-flat time trial around Knokke-Heist spanned just over seventeen kilometres. The stage earlier in the day had ended in a sprint but was dry. In the hours between the stages, heavy rain hit West Flanders but we ended up with a half wet/half dry course.
The wind was lessened for the early runners and Thalita de Jong from Liv Racing TeqFind set a sharp time early in the event. Lisa Klein (Lidl-Trek) and Jenny Rissveds (Coop-Hitec Products) also rode strong time trials but fell a few seconds short of De Jong’s time which stood for a long long time. It was only when the last few race favourites began to set times that the Dutch rider was finally removed from the hot seat.
Ultimately, it was Henderson who managed to undercut De Jong’s time. Emma Norsgaard (Movistar) fell seven seconds short of the British rider’s time when she crossed the finish line. But when Brand took to the course, there was no stopping her as she shaved thirteen seconds off Henderson’s time. Race leader Kool couldn’t alter this, leading to Brand not only winning the stage but also taking over the lead.
“Being back on the first step of podium in a road race is a special feeling. Of course, a sweet feeling! There were not many moments so far in the season in which I was feeling really good, strong and fresh. For me, the podium I took in the first stages were already like winning. So, yeah, this win makes me really happy and satisfied.
It was a super windy time trial, technical and with some parts where we had to push real power on pedals. I was really looking forward to this race, because I have a good feeling since the start of the race, on Wednesday, and I wanted to test myself.”Lucinda Brand
2023 Baloise Ladies Tour Stage 3b result
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Main photo credit: Sprint Cycling Agency