Today saw the peloton take on the first of the classics at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. With the forecast predicting strong winds and rain, mixed in with numerous cobbled sections and climbs, it was sure to be a tough day out it in the saddle.
Despite numerous attacks early in the afternoon and a break of three that managed to gain one minute over the peloton, the race was back together before the first section of cobbles. It became a race of attrition, as the wind and rain battered the peloton. The team were attentive and split the race in the crosswinds, reducing the bunch even further.
Floortje Mackaij and Franziska Koch made a front group of 21 riders with 40 kilometres to go. That group would work well together and hold off the chasing peloton, with the 21 riders together at the foot of the Muur. Eventual race winner Van Vleuten made a stinging attack from the bottom of the climb, with Mackaij the only rider able to initially follow. However, once onto the cobbled section of the ascent Van Vleuten kicked again and pulled away from Mackaij.
Waiting up for a chase group of four riders that joined her, Mackaij and those in her group combined forces in an attempt to reach the head of the race. Despite their best efforts they wouldn’t be able to make it and instead fought it out in the sprint for second place. Mackaij showed how gutsy she is, digging deep all the way to the line and taking a strong third place at the finish.
|1||VAN VLEUTEN Annemiek||Mitchelton-Scott||3:34:55||125|
|2||BASTIANELLI Marta||Alé BTC Ljubljana||0:42||85|
|3||MACKAIJ Floortje||Team Sunweb||,,||70|