Returning to GP Eco Struct after winning the first edition of the race in 2020, the team once again had their sights on a top result and after a brillaint performance by every rider – they did just that, securing a remarkable one-two-five at the finish.
A predominantly flat parcours lay ahead of the riders with laps around the town of Wichelen, which featured a short cobbled section, making up the 123 kilometre long route. A few probing attacks were made at the start of the race before a break of three riders escaped, with Team DSM riding well together, controlling the peloton.
As the kilometres ticked by, the team continued to take the onus at the front of the peloton and started to bring the breakaway back, eating into the two minute advantage they had gained. Despite some nervous moments in the peloton with crashes in the finale, the team’s good positioning saw them come through unscathed and heading into the closing three kilometres the race was all back together, with Esmée Peperkamp, Franziska Koch and Julia Soek all controlling the bunch excellently.
Delivering an almost picture perfect lead out, the team dominated the finale, utilising their strength by stringing the bunch out and peeling off one-by-one. Coming through the technical last corner Lorena Wiebes had the line in her sight, sprinting out of Susanne Andersen’s wheel and taking a brilliant victory, with Andersen holding on for second and Pfeiffer Georgi securing fifth; rounding out a brilliant team performance.
“We controlled it the whole race, with the break of three,” explained a jubilant Wiebes. “Esmée did a really good job riding on the front of the peloton for a long time, controlling the gap. Then actually, nothing much else really happened for a while as we were just riding on the front with other teams behind us. In the final lead out, the girls really sped it up on the last lap. Franziska and Julia did a good job and then finished just before one kilometre to go. Pfeiffer then took over and sent us through the last corner and it was full gas there. I was just waiting to open up my sprint in the wheel of Susanne and then went for it. It’s really nice to finish it off with first and second place on the podium, also with Pfeiffer in fifth. It was a really good team effort like we did last year here and I actually think we did even better today.”
Team DSM coach Bennie Lambregts added: “We followed the plan we had before the race in almost 100 percent the perfect way. We wanted to have a small break, no bigger than four or five riders, and in the end three got away. Esmée controlled the race really well during the earlier parts by her own and we were always in a good position. The whole team were in the lead in the last lap and closed the gap at around two or three kilometres to go to the finish. We then made a really good lead out for Lorena and she could finish it off perfectly. With Susanne coming second too and Pfeiffer in fifth, it shows how good we were today. I think it was an excellent job from the whole team, they were super professional, took control of the race and finished it off really well.”
|VAN DER HULST Amber