SD Worx may have been unusually absent from the top ten at Trofeo Alfredo Binda Sunday but in Belgium they were making sure no one would forget their ability to dominate at a race with Christine Majerus and Amy Pieters taking the two top steps of the podium at the UCI 1.1 Omloop van de Westhoek.
The team's sixth early season victory also helped buoy the confidence of the team itself with victory for the Luxembourg champion after she jumped across to the leading group of seven to join Nokere Koerse winner Pieters.
"This can be called the perfect race for the team. We had the feeling we were in control all the time,” said Majerus after the finish in Ichtegem.
“In the penultimate lap Amy and I wanted to see which of the others was still strong. On the flat part of the cobblestone section Amy went full speed, while I took the initiative on the part where the road went uphill. When I looked back after the effort, I saw that I had a gap on Amy. But I also saw that Amy had closed a gap with the other riders. So it seemed wiser to wait for Amy so we could ride to the finish together.”
It is a one-two that, despite Trofeo Alfredo Binda, will send a warning shot to other teams ahead of the block of Flemish Women’s WorldTour races, Brugge-De Panne, Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders.
"These results are definitely good for our morale. This race is not part of the WorldTour, but when you see how strong the team rides as a unit in this Omloop van de Westhoek, it gives a lot of confidence. We know we are ready for the important classics.”
Until Trofeo Alfredo Binda there would have been no expectations that the team needed a morale boost as the Italian Women’s WorldTour race was the first time the squad has displayed any real weakness all year. In fact the combined strength and depth of the team, with those six wins coming from six different riders, meant the season had looked to be shaping up as one of domination by the Dutch-based team.
Yet Ashleigh Moolman Pasio and Elena Cecchini were the team's best placed riders at 14th and 20th in Cittiglio as when the winning move was made by Elisa Longo Borghini of Trek-Segafredo with 25 kilometres to go SD Worx were not among the six-rider chase group that formed
"Of course this gives confidence, but we have also seen in the Trofeo Alfredo Binda that Elisa Longo Borghini and her team ride very strongly. In the upcoming races there will be some strong girls," said Pieters. “It means we have to stay sharp."
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