By Brecht Decaluwé in Deinze
The women's season's first big clash was contested in the famed hilly region of Flanders during the third edition of the women's Omloop Het Volk, with Dutch rider Kirsten Wild (AA-Drink Cycling Team) taking victory in the race dominated by her squad. The weather gods didn't fancy the women who took part in the Omloop, as the peloton was offered a series of rain showers from start to finish.
The top European rider were present in Deerlijk for the start, with UCI-points points on offer at the race which can lead to an Olympic Games berth, provided they manage to finish within the top-100 of the rankings. The most well known names at the start were inaugural winner Suzanne De Goede, Mirjam Melchers (Team Flexpoint), Judith Arndt (Team High Road) and Trixi Worrack (Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung).
Wild wasn't too surprised about her victory in the third Omloop Het Volk. The 26 year-old Dutchwoman explained that the team's directeur sportif pointed out that it should happen for the team today. "And that's just what we did," Wild smiled. "With Irene Van Den Broeck in front we were allowed to relax in the peloton."
"I'm born with this talent, and I'm not unhappy with it," added Wild of her sprinting abilities. "This race was on my wish list, so I'm delighted I managed to win here. My next goal is the Tour of Flanders, in April."
Wild claimed victory after an early breakaway was caught with 25 kilometres remaining before the finish line in Deinze. After two laps of the finishing circuit, Wild was able to ride away down the home straight, capitalizing on a final corner mistake by lead-out rider Emma Johansson. Wild powered home ahead of German Angela Brodtka (DSB Bank), while team-mate Johansson was able to regroup and join Wild on the podium with her third place.
Read up on the entire details of the women's classic in Belgium.