Team Coop – Hitec Products has its first podium of the season. In the Ronde de Mouscron Nicole Steigenga sprinted to the second place on Monday. She and Sylvie Swinkels were part of a first group of thirty riders that sprinted for the win. Nicole started the sprint early and saw only Thalita de Jong passing her before the finish line.
The 127 kilometers long race was already on fire quite fast. “In the beginning the pace was quite okay, but after three laps there was a split on the cobblestones”, Nicole looks back after the race. “It was a very technical course, so you actually had to be in front all the time.” Emma Boogaard just missed that first group, chased with a small group, but in the end ended up in the second big group with Mari Hole Mohr and Pernille Feldmann.
In front it was the Valcar team that tried to control the race, as they were with five and had last year’s winner Chiara Consonni with them. “Normally, Consonni is the best sprinter. And as Valcar were with five riders in the first group, it was up to them to do the work. I was only there with one teammate, Sylvie, who helped me really well.”
In the last 30 kilometers a lot of riders tried to attack. Nicole was one of them and she even seemed to be getting away in a small group. “I had a really good feeling during the race. I thought my sprint wasn’t good enough, so I tried to be in an attack a few times. That went well.”
All the way
However, in the end a sprint was inevitable. Valcar put their sprint train on the road, but on the slightly uphill last part of the race, Nicole surprised by starting her sprint early. “In the sprint I was a bit too far in the back and I thought; I just go all the way from 300 meters. Then I thought ‘wow, nobody is passing me’. In the end only Thalita did, but I am very happy with this second place.”
Results Ronde de Mouscron:
1. Thalita de Jong (JEGG-DJR Academy)
2. Nicole Steigenga
3. Martina Alzini (Cofidis)
19. Sylvie Swinkels
36. Mari Hole Mohr
57. Emma Boogaard
74. Pernille Feldmann