The Canadian Simone Boilard took her first UCI victory with an impressive solo attack to the line at GP Oetingen. The race that was originally due to be held in March had to be rescheduled after heavy snowfall. There were no such issues today and despite previous editions being won in sprints by Elisa Balsamo and Lorena Wiebes, the strategy book was torn up.
The Congoberg and Rensberg climbs set the early tone, with riders being able to break away before the live coverage started. Valerie Demey and Nicole Frain were the first to get a gap for a brief time before Colombian Diana Penuela got a gap. She was able to hold off the bunch for a time but once caught, a counter move from her DNA teammate Heidi Franz and Top Girls Fassa Bortolo rider Giorgia Vettorello was able to stay clear for longer.
The peloton kept the pace high though and as the gap fell a large group of 7 riders bridged across to the lead pair. Again the climbs meant the group struggled to stay together and Julie de Wilde and Justine Ghekiere broke away from that group to take a strong lead. As the rest of the group was sucked into the peloton again, Justine Ghekiere suffered a crash on the cobbles, just as the live coverage began with 60km to go. Now alone, there wasn’t quite the same impetus to stay clear and everything came back together again.
Sabrina Stultiens of Liv Racing TeqFind tried a solo break that lasted a couple of laps of the local circuit before also being caught. Teammate Thalita de Jong then attacked on the Bergstraat climb to try and force another split but the peloton covered it.
The decisive move of the race came with 27km to go on the cobbles at Lieferinge. Simone Boilard, Evy Kuijpers, Maaike Boogaard and Jeanne Korevaar went clear and were able to work well enough together, with some serious rouleur firepower, to pull out a decent lead. The peloton almost had them at 15km to go when the gap was just 15″ but they took their foot off the gas at just the wrong moment. On the next ascent of the Bergstraat, Simone Boilard dropped her breakaway companions and went for it solo. Her gap of 35″ at that point went out to 50 seconds and it began to look like the winner of the day was sorted.
Despite a strong chase from Evy Kuijpers, who might’ve caught with another 1 or 2 kilometres of racing, Simone Boilard was able to cross the line with her arms aloft.
2023 GP Oetingen result
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