The nineteenth edition of the High Mass had a fast overture. Four riders broke away and stayed ahead long, despite many counterattacks. When the peloton picked up the pace on the Molenberg, the favourites were tested for the first time. After that, it kept raining attacks, but Henderson and Karlijn Swinkels, among others, countered early pinpricks.
On the Koppenberg, the race exploded. Vos, Henderson and Coryn Labecki had difficulty keeping up the pace but returned in the descent. Another shift took place on the Taaienberg and ultimately, Vos and Henderson remained in front for Team Jumbo-Visma. On the descent, another attack occurred and eleven riders, including an attentive Henderson, created a gap. The 23-year-old British time trial champion had to let go on the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg and dropped back to the group of Vos.
“It was nice to be in the breakaway”, Henderson said. “The faster women eventually caught me halfway up the Oude Kwaremont and my legs were empty on the Paterberg. Then I dropped back so Marianne could sprint. It was a tough race and a valuable experience.”
Vos was disappointed with her result. “I have felt better after a race. Today I just wasn’t good enough. I couldn’t keep up.”
Sports director Lieselot Decroix also expressed disappointment. “We came to win and we planned to race as conservatively as possible. We executed that plan reasonably well; only in the lead-out to the Koppenberg we were a bit too far behind. After that, we only had Coryn, Anna and Marianne in front and we lost the rest. Fortunately, Anna had a wonderful day and fought back. Coryn tried to bring Marianne to the front, but to no avail. Anna did everything she could, but she didn’t have any energy left in the end. Unfortunately, the verdict is that we were not good enough today.”