A late crash in the Sparkassen Giro, in Bochum, Germany, denied Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling a probably podium finish as Charlotte Becker came down on the final corner of the 76.2km race. The former German champion led the peloton around the bend, as she was leading out New Zealander Emily Collins for the final sprint but, as she slid out, it prevented the black and orange team from taking a result.
"Coming into the last corner, Lotte hit the corner first with Emily about two or three wheels behind her, but Lotte hit the deck and it basically messed the whole sprint up," explained Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling directeur sportif Simon Cope.
"That crash disrupted the whole sprint. We definitely would have had a top three out of it. It went wrong at the finish but they rode well all day."
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling's two German riders, Becker and Anna-Bianca Schnitzmeier both tried to force breakaways in the biggest one day race in their home country. The rest of the team's riders also tried to get clear on the fast, mostly flat course, but nobody was able to establish a lead over the speeding peloton.
"They were trying to force a move but the course just didn't allow it, it was too fast," explained Cope. "They were attacking and getting a little gap but, if you had ten seconds at the turn, it was basically four or five K all the way to the last corner.
"A 15-second gap just disappeared so quickly that the race wouldn't split."
With Becker's crash disrupting the team's leadout of Collins, the race was won by Luxembourg champion Christine Majerus (Sengers Ladies), ahead of teammate Maaike Polspoel, with Kirsten Wild (Argos-Shimano) third. Australian Lauren Kitchen was Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling's best placed rider in sixth place, while Collins took tenth.
"You can't help crashing in the last corner. It's just one of those things," Cope said. "That's bike racing. The positive thing is that they put themselves in the right position for the finish, but it just went wrong."
Despite bad luck at the finish, Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling made it onto the race podium in the shape of former Japanese champion Mayuko Hagiwara who won the race's mountain classification.
"Mayuko won the mountains classification, so that was a nice result,' said Cope. "She got on the podium. That was one nice result, but it would have been nice to get a top three in the race."
1. Christine Majerus (Sengers Ladies)
2. Maaike Polspoel (Sengers Ladies)
3. Kirsten Wild (Argos-Shimano)
6. Lauren Kitchen (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
10. Emily Collins (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
photo Cheltenham jockey club
photo Cheltenham Racecourse
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