Moving to a team that includes a powerful sprinter like Lorena Wiebes may mean the opportunities to go for the win don't come as often for Charlotte Kool, but she took full advantage of the chance she was given at GP Eco-Struct.
Slotting into the role of protected rider for the 136.4km Belgian race starting and finishing in Whichelen, Kool rode into the perfect position on a powerful lead out from Wiebes and then crossed the line ahead of Rachele Barbieri (Liv Racing Xstrata) to take her first win with Team DSM.
Wiebes, who has won the race the past two years, also held position near the front after her work was done. The rider that has delivered four of the team’s five victories so far this year, this time took third at the 1.1 classified race with her arms raised in celebration of her teammate's win.
“I am really happy with this win after the team gave me this opportunity today,” said Kool, who celebrated her 23rd birthday the previous day. “The team really believed in me and did everything they could to get me in a good position so I could finish it off in the sprint.”
Kool swapped to Team DSM from U23 squad NXTG Racing at the start of 2022, coming in off a strong season even with a tough COVID-19 recovery thrown into the mix. In 2021 Kool won the GP International d'Isbergues and a stage at the Baloise Ladies Tour, also taking second at Grand Prix du Morbihan Féminine and Drentse Acht van Westerveld.
GP Eco-Struct marks her first time on the podium this year and with Kool stepping into the role of protected rider, at the race where she was a runner up in 2020, Wiebes played a varied hand, making into the break of nine along with teammate Franziska Koch and then, after the race came back together, shifting to lead out duties.
“Different way of racing today, had a lot of fun with riding aggressive,” said Wiebes on Instagram.
It was a tactic that resulted in a victory for the team at the race for a third year in a row, with both of its Dutch 23 year old sprinters on the podium at the 1.1 classified event.
“We’re super happy with the win today from Charlotte and also to have Lorena on the podium,” Team DSM coach Pim Ligthart said. “It’s really great to see that if we have a goal that everyone goes out and fully commits to it.
"The team worked really well throughout the day to control the bunch and then we did a super lead out in the finale, with Charlotte finishing it off brilliantly.”
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Simone is a degree-qualified journalist that has accumulated decades of wide-ranging experience while working across a variety of leading media organisations. She joined Cyclingnews as a Production Editor at the start of the 2021 season and has now moved into the role of Australia Editor. Previously she worked as a freelance writer, Australian Editor at Ella CyclingTips and as a correspondent for Reuters and Bloomberg. Cycling was initially purely a leisure pursuit for Simone, who started out as a business journalist, but in 2015 her career focus also shifted to the sport.