Team DSM completed a route with a full podium of their riders at the 2023 Dwars Door de Westhoek. Raced on a simple enough 10.5km circuit near Ypres this year due to roadworks, the strong winds played havoc with the bunch instead. With splits in the peloton happening regularly, it was no surprise when an attacking front group managed to detach itself from the main peloton. It was packed full of Team DSM and Fenix Deceuninck riders in particular as they looked to secure a result.
Pre-race favourite Charlotte Kool was a factor in the eventual move that saw Brugge-De Panne winner Pfeiffer Georgi and Lea Curinier go clear with a move off the front. They were aided by the chaos behind as a rider fell and took a couple of others out of the bunch too. Without coverage it’s hard to confirm who went down first but Teniel Campbell, Chiara Consonni and Christine Schweinberger had all previously had their numbers called by race radio as being in the front group, only to finish back in the peloton.
There was still 50km to go however when the trio went clear, so it wasn’t obvious that it was going to be the race-winning move. They’d left Esmee Peperkamp back in the chasing group to run interference and it gradually became clear that the cohesiveness of 3 teammates working with each other was going to prevail over a chasing group with its own desire to look after. The gap initially held but just leaked a few seconds here and there before eventually cresting the 1 minute mark with a lap or so to go to the finish.
Pfeiffer Georgi was allowed to take the victory, ahead of Lea Curinier and Charlotte Kool as the trio came into the finish with their arms raised in triumph. Behind, Kathrin Schweinberger was the first of the chasers to finish, ahead of Paris Roubaix Femmes winner Alison Jackson.
“It was a really windy race today and we went in with a plan to split it halfway through. The whole team fully committed and we managed to make the group smaller. A lap later we tried again into the wind. Me, Charlotte and Léa ended up going away together for around the last 50 kilometres, so it was a pretty painful last hour. It was full commitment to the line and we managed to pull off a one-two-three, so it was a pretty special race for us.”Pfeiffer Georgi
2023 Dwars Door de Westhoek result
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Main photo credit: Bart Hazen