British champion Helen Wyman (Kona) grabbed the win in the first round of the Superprestige Series with a steady performance on the heavy and technical course in Ruddervoorde, Belgium. Halfway through the rain-soaked race she gapped compatriot Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) and maintained a ten-second gap for the remainder of the race. The most surprising performance in Ruddervoorde came from Lucie Chainel, wife of Steve, who rode intelligently to beat Sophie de Boer (Telenet-Fidea) and Amy Dombroski (Crankbrothers).
Wyman was pleased with her win, although she acknowledged that the level of competition wasn't as high as it will be during next week's World Cup round in Plzen. “I know Sanne van Paassen and Daphny van den Brand are doing well, just like Katie Compton and Katerina Nash, but none of them were here so it was my race to lead," said Wyman. "This course had everything that doesn't suit me well but I rode my own race.”
During the first two laps it meant that everybody was forced to dig deep to stay in touch with Wyman and on the first lap Harris was in hot pursuit with Sanne Cant (BKCP-Powerplus), De Boer, Chainel and Pavla Havlikova (Telenet-Fidea) closely trailing but they were never being able to close the gap to the two Brits.
During the second of four laps Wyman put pressure on Harris but the latter stood tall. Havlikova dropped from the first chasing group where De Boer did most of the work, ten seconds behind the two leaders. After changing bikes Harris had been gapped by the end of the second lap. While the other chasers trailed by almost half a minute, Harris was almost ten seconds down on a strong Wyman.
The situation in front remained the same throughout the third lap in which Harris failed to gain ground on Wyman. “It's a pity I had to change bikes. Once the gap was there I didn't have that kick to get back to her,” Harris told Cyclingnews. During the final lap Harris must have realized victory was out of reach as the danger came from behind, where Chainel was gaining ground. The Frenchwoman seemed fresh on the bike despite being at the end of a tough race while De Boer and Belgian champion Cant were quickly dropped and the latter kept losing places when she was passed by Dombroski and eventually Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn (Licht Verzet).
In front Wyman cruised to her first European win of the season, ahead of a happy Harris. “Having confidence really makes a big difference. This second place confirms that I've made progress,” said Harris. Chainel rolled across the line at half a minute from Wyman, as her husband Steve was there to hand her a fresh shirt and take her bike. “In January I gave birth so it's not obvious that I'd be here at a good level," said Chainel.
"It's my fourth race of the season - the first three were held in France. It's my first race here so I'm very pleased with the outcome. The only problem today was that I had issues getting into my pedals after going through the sand,” she added.
|1||Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona Factory Racing||0:35:42|
|2||Nikki Harris (GBr) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:00:15|
|3||Lucie Chainel (Fra)||0:00:28|
|4||Sophie de Boer (Ned) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:00:51|
|5||Amy Dombroski (USA) Crankbrothers Race Club||0:01:18|
|6||Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:01:27|
|7||Sanne Cant (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||0:01:31|
|8||Pavla Havlikova (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:41|
|9||Linda van Rijen (Ned)||0:02:24|
|10||Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel) Cycling Team Vermeeren||0:03:00|
|11||Nicole De Bie-Leyten (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:03:02|
|12||Hilde Quintens (Bel) Van Goethem - Prorace Cycling Team||0:03:17|
|13||Arenda Grimberg (Ned)||0:03:21|
|14||Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Kriekel Cycling Team Tessenderlo|
|15||Nancy Bober (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team|
|16||Ludivine Henrion (Bel)||0:03:46|
|17||Nikoline Hansen (Den) Bov CC-Denmark||0:03:50|
|18||Christine Vardaros (USA) Baboco||0:04:02|
|19||Tessa van Nieuwpoort (Ned)||0:04:29|
|20||Ilona Meter (Ned)||0:04:49|
|21||Lana Verberne (Ned)||0:06:01|
|22||Karen Verhestraeten (Bel)||0:06:49|
|23||Anja Geldhof (Bel)||0:07:38|
|24||Iris Ockeloen (Ned)||0:07:47|
|25||Maud Kaptheijns (Ned)|
|26||Anja Nobus (Bel)||0:08:32|
|27||Marquerite de Neve (Ned)||0:09:20|
|28||Valerie Boonen (Bel) De Kastelse Durvers V.Z.W.||-1lap|
|29||Tine Dutoo (Bel)|
|30||Katleen Fraeye (Bel)|
|31||Sandie Verriest (Bel)|
|32||Caitlyn La Haye (Bel)||-2laps|