With the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday and the Omloop van het Hageland a day later, the classic opening weekend in Belgium was this weekend. For Team Coop – Hitec Products, it were the two first races of the season. Nine riders of the team were racing. Three of them doing a double program and three riders that made their racing debut for the team. It was a good start of the season.
In the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Ingvild Gaskjenn was the first rider at the finish from Team Coop – Hitec Products. She had hoped for a bit more than becoming 52nd, but that had its reason. “I felt really good, but got technical problems into the Muur van Geraardsbergen”, Ingvild tells. “I finished the race only on one gear, so I couldn’t follow the front group.”
On Sunday there were new chances and one of the riders to make her debut was Nicole Steigenga. “The beginning of the race was very hectical and it was difficult to find each other”, the Dutch rider says about the Omloop van het Hageland. “But halfway, we were able to find each other better and ride more to the front together. I myself really had to get used to looking for a different shirt, as I changed teams.”
Ingvild also noticed that it was a had race; “Today was just really hard and hectic. We rode well for a long time. We were supposed to go for me, but I did not have the legs, so then we changed the plan and Nicole sprinted to a good result.” Behind winner Marta Bastianelli, Nicole finished in the 20th spot.
Morale from the new team bus
After the finish Nicole was happy with her result. “I actually didn’t expect that I would have this shape already, but it went pretty well. Since I know what it is and I can still get better, I hope that this race will help me improve a bit in the coming week. Hopefully we can also improve our working together then. One thing is for sure; the new team bus also gave me more morale today.”
Photo top: Sportfoto.nl