Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Jolien D’hoore proved once again that she is the Belgian rider to beat on the road, despite spending most of the season so far training on the track, with a third successive victory in the Flanders Diamond Tour in the centre of the city of Antwerp. The Belgian National Champion outsprinted the pack at the end of a flat, but attacking race around the Antwerp region, after a near-perfect lead out from black and orange teammates Amy Pieters and Chloe Hosking.
“It was a really fast race,” D’hoore said afterwards. “We did almost 42kph average, so pretty fast! There were a lot of attacks, and we were only with four riders, but I think we were in almost every attack. So the team was really, really good.
“Actually, we did the perfect race, tactically.”
The 131km race, based on eight laps of a 14.4km lap, saw numerous breakaway attempts, with Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s D’hoore, Pieters, Hosking and Giorgia Bronzini all featuring at some point. With virtually no climbing in the race, however, and so many sprinters in the peloton, a bunch sprint was almost inevitable.
“I was in a breakaway with two laps to go, then we were caught back and it was a bunch sprint,’ D’hoore explained. “The team of Liv-Plantur had a full lead out, with 3km to go, and I had Amy in front of me and Chloe. Amy did a bit of an attack with 1km to go, and Chloe followed with me.
“I just had to come out with 250 to go so it was perfect.”
This victory is the first for D’hoore on the road this season, as she focuses her attention on the Olympic Omnium in Rio, in August, but shows that she is still one of the sprinters to beat, despite the lack of specific road training. It is also her third successive victory in the Flanders Diamond Tour, which is a race that she naturally enjoys.
“It’s a good race, and most of the time it’s a bunch sprint so it’s good for me!” she laughed.
“It’s a bit different to last year. Most of the time I’m training on the track so it’s different. The big difference is that I”m not so fresh for the road races, I just keep training and I’m not building off my training in road races, so that’s why my legs don’t feel fresh the last few weeks.
“But the power is there, and the speed is there, so I proved it today in the bunch sprint,” D’hoore concluded.
1. Jolien D’hoore (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)
2. Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans)
3. Monique van de Ree (Lares-Waowdeals)