THE EUROPEAN CHAMPION PREVAILS BIG AT WAREGEM WITH AN ATTACK NEARLY 40 KM FROM THE FINISH LINE, BEATING NIEWIADOMA (CSR) TO THE SPRINT, AND GIVES THE ‘TELEPHONE’ SQUAD ITS FIRST SUCCESS, WITH IN MEMORY OF GARY BAÑOS.
A historic day for Movistar Team. The Telephone squad’s first win in a Flemish cobblestone classic came from one of the big bets for the new era, where women’s cycling has special prominence. It was the great leader, Annemiek van Vleuten, the one in blue in charge of climbing to the top of the podium at Dwars Door Vlaanderen. The race took place on Wednesday, over 122 km between Roeselare and Waregem, in whose last third the European champion was a major protagonist.
Van Vleuten burst from the peloton 36 kilometres from the end of the race with an unstoppable attack on the Cote de Trieu/Knokteberg, a movement that could only be followed by the Pole, Kasia Niewiadoma (CSR). Together they began an exciting ride, which never held more than 30″ over the peloton. Trek-Segafredo and BikeExchange, among other teams, tried to thwart the break despite the huge work of Leah Thomas, coming with almost every movement from the peloton behind.
Her work, and that of the entire team led by Pablo Lastras, allowed Van Vleuten, who launched a long sprint of more than 300 meters, to raise her arms and give her first 2021 triumph to the Spanish team. One that the inevitable memory Gary Baños makes even more special.
STATEMENTS / Annemiek van Vleuten:
“Happy for this first win and for being able to reward the team with a win after the good work they have been doing since the start of the season. Races like today and like the ones we’ve been watching these weeks give me a lot of confidence in the strength we can have together. At Omloop I felt that I still had to adjust to the operation of the equipment, but already in Strade things went very well and today we have taken another step forward. All the equipment has run at 100%. Gloria and Alicia have covered us well at the beginning, Barbara and Aude have left me in the best possible place at important times and, with Leah also in the lead, we had a good second option.
After recon-ing the route yesterday I was very motivated, also after all the work we had done these two months in Tenerife, but it is true that an attack so far away, more than 30 km from the finish line, was a risky bet, but it was on climbs like Knokteberg where I could make a difference. When I started and saw that only Kasia followed me, I knew that I had to bet. Not everyone was here, but the force for the attacks is there and feeling like that gives me motivation for what is coming.
There’s a lot of talk about Sunday, but it was also a great goal to be ahead with the team, to keep giving them back that support. This is going to help the team a lot, to run more and more confidently. The way we’re behaving in the race, all on the team, I’m increasingly proud to be part of the Movistar Team. For now, it is time to enjoy this triumph, rest for a few days and settle the body after concentration in height and then already think about Sunday”.
Cover image (c): Photo Gomez Sport