Charlotte Kool has claimed victory on Stage 1 of the Baloise Ladies Tour. The cyclist from Team dsm-firmenich emerged as the best in a mass sprint, strengthening her lead in the overall standings. Emma Norsgaard and Lucinda Brand finished second and third respectively.
It was written in the stars that there would be a sprint on Thursday in Zwevegem. All day, nobody really managed to break away from the pack. Anniek Mos and Aniek van Alphen gave it their best shot and got the most distance but were caught by the peloton with just ten kilometres left to go. Their biggest advantage was 50″ but the peloton always had it in check and once Mos couldn’t hold onto Van Alphen, the move was always going to be covered.
This paved the way for the setup of a mass sprint. However, there was a significant crash in the peloton occurred just 4.5 kilometres from the finish line. Kim Cadzow and Anna Trevisi were both caught up in it and didn’t finish. That wasn’t the end of the crashes either, two crashes in the finishing straight saw riders go down. The second of which was caused by a drunk spectator according to one rider, who wandered out into the road and made contact with Duolar-Chevalmeir rider Antonia Gröndahl. Her teammate Nathalie Bex was also involved in the first crash at the finish.
Despite all that, Charlotte Kool and her team skilfully dodged the pile-up, and the young Dutch sprinter once again dominated the finish. On Wednesday, she had also taken the top spot in the opening time trial in Vlissingen and sits comfortably at the top of the GC standings now. Her gap to Lucinda Brand in 2nd is 7″ with Jenny Rissveds in 3rd at 12″ after the Swede finished 12th today.
Tomorrow’s Baloise Ladies Tour stage will see the riders start and finish in Zulte, racing over 116.2km.
2023 Baloise Ladies Tour Stage 1 result
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Main photo credit: Cor Vos