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Laura Trott makes an aggressive Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling debut in GP Dottignies
Double Olympic champion Laura Trott made an aggressive race debut in the colours of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling as she sprinted to fourth place in the GP Dottignies in Belgium. The 20-year-old joined the race's main 13-rider breakaway, which escaped in the first of four 28.4km laps, then managed to stay in the group as it was reduced to eight in the final 20km.
Vera Koedooder (Sengers Ladies) escaped in the closing kilometres to take a solo victory, with Iris Slappendel (Rabobank-Liv/Giant) also getting away to take second. Trott was narrowly beaten to third place by Slappendel's teammate Sanne van Paassen as the rest of the group sprinted for the final spot on the podium.
"It's a pretty good result," smiled Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling directeur sportif Simon Cope after the race. "It just split straight away in the crosswind and Laura ended up in there with five Rabobanks to start with, so that was pretty good.
"She was rolling through [to take her turn on the front of the group] because sometimes it was easier to roll through than to be put in the gutter all the time," Cope explained. "Then the group split into two, with three Rabobanks, and they started attacking in ones and twos. Then Koedooder attacked at the right time and put them on the back foot."
Two riders escaped the peloton in the final lap to take ninth and tenth places, but Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling took 11th and 12th at the head of the peloton, through former World champion Giorgia Bronzini and Olympic champion Dani King, who was also making her 2013 road debut.
"I think it's all good really," said Cope. "Laura's first outing; in the break from the gun. Probably not the usual way to start your racing debut!"
In other good news for Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling, team manager Rochelle Gilmore rode her first race since her serious crash in the Tour of Qatar, in late January, and finished safely in the peloton.
"Rochelle did a good job today," Cope commented. "I didn't think it would be that hard a race, but it was very hard because the wind just battered the race to bits."
1. Vera Koedooder (Sengers Ladies)
2. Iris Slappendel (Rabobank-Liv/Giant)
3. Sanne van Paassen (Rabobank-Liv/Giant)
4. Laura Trott (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
11. Giorgia Bronzini
12. Dani King
43. Ana-Bianca Schnitzmeier
50. Rochelle Gilmore
56. Beatrice Bartelloni