The Classics got underway this afternoon at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, where the bunch were faced with a typically challenging 128 kilometre long parcours from Ghent to Ninove. With several punchy climbs throughout the day, both of the cobbled and non-cobbled variety, it was set to be a hard day out.
It was a steady start to the race and a six rider group forged clear, with all Team DSM riders in the peloton, keeping their powder dry for what was to come. Despite building up an over three minute lead, the attackers were caught and the race was all back together heading into the last 50 kilometres. Setting out with a plan, the team wanted to race aggressively and so they did, with Liane Lippert putting in a strong counter attack on the Leberg, dragging clear three other riders.
Working well as a group, and aided by some good teamwork behind, they built up a lead of one minute but the teams that missed out eventually got organised and began a fierce chase. Heading towards the famous Muur van Geraardsbergen the gap had fallen to just 16 seconds, with Lippert climbing brilliantly to crest the ascent in the now leading trio, with groups of riders trying to bridge from behind. It came back together at the front just before the last ascent of the day, the Bosberg, where Van Vleuten and Vollering would push on. Lippert gave it her all to close the gap but the duo out front crested the climb with a lead. As a result, there was little cooperation in Lippert’s chasing group as both riders had teammates in there who disrupted the chase, and eventually the drastically reduced peloton, which included Floortje Mackaij and Lorena Wiebes returned inside the final three kilometres.
Lippert and Mackaij both then did strong pulls to help set-up Wiebes, who produced a dominant kick to “win” the sprint from the bunch and claiming the final spot on the podium for the team – a great reward for some strong racing by everyone today.
|1||VAN VLEUTEN Annemiek||Movistar Team||3:25:54||200|
|2||VOLLERING Demi||Team SD Worx||,,||150|
|3||WIEBES Lorena||Team DSM||0:25||125|