The 2nd edition of the women’s Scheldeprijs saw no surprises as Lorena Wiebes took the win for Team DSM. The parcours looked nailed on for a bunch sprint with only the wind conditions giving a chance for others. The strong wind and exposed flat roads never really materialised, however, with the direction not quite right for echelons. A break of 3-riders kept the peloton at bay for a long time but was caught before the end. That left a clear run for the Team DSM lead-out train to deliver Lorena Wiebes to the finish line first.
The weather conditions weren’t great at the start of the day. Damp roads and a strong tailwind meant that the first hour was raced at over 40kph. A couple of crashes meant the favourites had to be kept near the front of the peloton to keep them out of trouble. The TV coverage kicked in and we saw Megan Armitage of IBCT attack and go clear. She was joined by Simone Boilard of St Michel-Auber93 and Abi Smith of EF Education-TIBCO-SVB.
The peloton didn’t allow them to get too much room, keeping the gap under 3 minutes before slowly closing up. When DSM pulled the peloton to within 30 seconds, Arkea tried to attack twice to bridge across to the break but to no avail. In the last 10km, Abi Smith tried to go it alone and was the last rider to be caught at today’s Scheldeprijs.
A large crash happened when a Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire-Van Eyck rider went down after touching wheels with Amalie Dideriksen near the front of the peloton. That took out a number of Liv Racing Xstra riders, including Amber van der Hulst and Eva Buurman, key lead-out riders for Rachele Barbieri. All the major favourites escaped unharmed and were free to contest the sprint.
Plantur-Pura looked like they’d done an impressive lead-out, only to get swamped before the last few hundred metres. Lorena Wiebes was forced to sprint with her face in the wind with close to 400 metres still to race and took the expected victory by a bike length over Chiara Consonni.
Behind the front pair, Rachele Barbieri pipped Georgia Baker for the final spot on the podium. The experienced pair of Barbara Guarischi and Chloe Hosking finished 5th and 6th.
“We hoped for echelons today but the wind was not perfect to break it up in this way. A group of three went in the break early and we controlled it with Esmée behind. At all the important points today we were in good position.Lorena Wiebes
Then in the final lap Esmée, Elise and Léa did everything to close the gap after which Megan did a great job to position Charlotte and I into the final kilometres. I followed Charlotte in the last part, made a small mistake in the final straight but found her again and was able to finish off the teamwork. I’m happy to take this team win!”