One year after finishing as runner-up, British rider Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) moved up a spot to win the Hansgrohe Superprestige race in Ruddervoorde, Belgium on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Harris won by a massive gap over her Dutch teammate Sophie de Boer (Telenet-Fidea) and Belgian champion Sanne Cant (BKCP). Last year’s winner Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Team) skipped this year’s race and is currently chalking up wins in the USA.
“It’s a nice course here and it was a nice win. Also, having a one-two with Telenet-Fidea is great,” Harris told Cyclingnews right after her race.
Despite 25 starters in the women’s race, the podium seemed a battle between Harris, De Boer and Cant with only the final order of success to be decided. Harris blew away all doubts about her determination right in the first lap. She dealt best with the technical, slippery course and quickly opened half a minute on the first chase group.
“I could go flat out but still I was quite surprised I had a gap early on. It made for comfortable racing, letting me choose my line in the sand and into the corners,” Harris said.
Cant takes a tumble
Cant was struggling early on and the blood on her knee showed that she’d had problem. A little later she misjudged a drop in a right-hand corner and went over the handlebars.
“First I hit my handlebars with my knee and then I landed on my broken knee during that crash,” Cant explained to Cyclingnews. It took the Belgian champion a lot of time to recover and by that time she was at the back of the large chase group.
Harris’ gap grew up to 45 seconds and stabilized when Cant moved to the front of the chase group. “I quickly increased the speed because the group was so big,” Cant said.
Her effort split the chase group apart but Harris was long gone. The race situation remained the same during the following laps with Cant and De Boer hitting the last lap together at more than a minute from Harris, who was able to roll in and celebrate her first win in Ruddervoorde.
“I noticed that Sanne was faster in the technical sections while I had the upper hand in the long sections and the sand,” De Boer told Cyclingnews. “On the last lap I opened up the gas in the sand and got a gap. I kept it until the finish,” De Boer said.
A little later Grimberg won the battle from Van Loy for fourth place. The latter had a great race but had to bow for the Dutch rider in the last lap. “She got further through the sand than I did so I missed the chance to sprint with her,” Van Loy told Cyclingnews.
More than two minutes later Dombroski settled for sixth place. “It didn’t happen today. It was a bit of a slog,” Dombroski said. The 45-year-old Reza Hormes-Ravenstein finished on an impressive seventh place ahead of youngsters Kim Van de Steene and Joyce Vanderbeken. Belgian veteran Nancy Bober rounded out the top-10.
|1||Nikki Harris (GBr) Young Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:43:01|
|2||Sophie de Boer (Ned) Young Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:06|
|3||Sanne Cant (Bel) Enertherm - BKCP Veldtritacademie||0:01:24|
|4||Arenda Grimberg (Ned) WV Het Stadion||0:01:31|
|5||Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Melbotech Prorace CT||0:01:41|
|6||Amy Dombroski (USA) Young Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:21|
|7||Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:02:29|
|8||Kim Van de Steene (Bel) Kon. VC T Meetjesland-Knesselare||0:02:38|
|9||Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel) Wielerteam Decock Sportivo Moorsele||0:03:39|
|10||Nancy Bober (Bel) Style & Concept||0:04:30|
|11||Lana Verberne (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:04:36|
|12||Hilde Quintens (Bel) Melbotech Prorace CT||0:05:01|
|13||Christine Vardaros (USA) Baboco||0:05:21|
|14||Anja Geldhof (Bel) WIMI-Games/St Martinus CT||0:06:29|
|15||Ilona Meter (Ned)||0:06:48|
|16||Jolien Verschueren (Bel)|
|17||Hannah Welter (Ned)||0:07:12|
|18||Lotte Eikelenboom (Ned)||0:07:35|
|19||Margriet Kloppenburg (Den) BMC Concept Store||0:07:48|
|20 (-2 laps)||Valerie Boonen (Bel) De Kastelse Durvers VZW|
|21||Lene Vrijsen (Bel)|
|22 (-3 laps)||Sandie Verriest (Bel)|
|23||Caitlyn La Haye (Bel) Melbotech Prorace CT|
|24||Maaike Lanssens (Bel)|