Today’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad signalled the start of the spring classics. The race was won by Annemiek van Vleuten (MOV) in a two-rider sprint finish 25 seconds ahead of the peloton. CANYON//SRAM Racing’s best placed riders were Chloé Dygert and Shari Bossuyt in 26th and 28th place.
As anticipated, most of the action came in the second half of the day. A six-rider breakaway was allowed a four-minute lead before being promptly reeled in as the peloton hit the halfway point. A quartet of riders attacked the Leberg climb with 35km remaining and Ellen van Dijk, Lianne Lippert, Anna Henderson and Marlen Reusser quickly established a lead of over one minute.
With Lisa Klein and Shari Bossuyt working hard to position the team early in the race, the action came thick and fast in the final hour of racing. Shari played a key role for the team in her debut race, helping reduce the gap to the breakaway to under 30 seconds before they hit the Muur de Geraardsbergen.
Chloé and Kasia Niewiadoma were just behind the leaders over the Muur but couldn’t go with the final attack of winner van Vleuten on the Bosberg climb that followed immediately. While van Vleuten and Demi Vollering rode to the finish, a bunch of 40 riders formed behind in the sprint for third place. Sarah Roy lost contact with the peloton after being involved in a crash but was able to continue to the finish without any major injury.
Read the reactions from some of the CANYON//SRAM Racing riders below.
Alice Barnes: “I was completely out of position for the sprint. It’s disappointing because I had to dig deep over the Muur to be in the position where I could be back at the front. I was with Shari over the Muur and then we came back to the next group which then caught another group in the final kilometres. Hopefully, we can learn and can have a better lead out together next time. I didn’t feel in amazing shape but felt okay and Le Samyn on Tuesday is a different kind of race and I’ll be ready to go again.”
Kasia Niewiadoma: “I hesitated at a crucial moment today. It was a passive race at the start and I missed the fire and fighting that you need in order to get a better result. We’re quite a new group and we have some things to learn together that you can only really do in a race situation. So, it was good we’ve now had two races together, especially before Strade Bianche. It’s the beginning of the season and there are many more chances to come and with every passing week we will be getting better.”
Chloé Dygert: “I came into the race and I didn’t really know what to expect. I wanted to come in and do what I could do with the team and I wanted to see where I was physically and mentally being back in the peloton. It was my first time in over two years doing a road race outside the Olympics so I came trying to get as much experience as I could. I wanted to get my confidence back and see what I need to improve on. I come away from the race and I know I have several things to work on for the upcoming races. I need to continue working on my positioning and I’m not at 100% yet with my fitness. But the season is long and my target races remain the same and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Shari Bossuyt: “I had good legs today and I did my best to help the team and I’m happy with that. I was fighting with myself to get over the Muur and Bosberg. In the final, I was trying to help Alice but my legs were completely finished.”