Grace Brown wins Classic Brugge-De Panne Women

Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange) has won the women's Classic Brugge-De Panne. The Australian attacked out of a 12-rider lead group that formed in a crosswind section and held off the chase of favourite sprinters on the last ten kilometres to the finish.

A few seconds later, Emma Norsgaard (Movistar Team) won the sprint for second place against Jolien D'hoore (Team SD Worx) in third.

"I'm in shock a little bit because on paper this isn't really a race that suits me; very flat and often for the sprinters," Brown said. "I new my only chance was to do an attack and I can't believe that I pulled it off. It's incredible ... my first WorldTour win, as well.

“It was part of our team plan to be there in the echelons. I knew that there would be action there and I was in the move when it split. As soon as we had a group of 13 after the crosswinds, I was outnumbered by other teams, and there were a lot of sprinters in the group, so I knew that I would have to attack at some point. I knew that there was a little technical section, that would be a good point for me to try a bit earlier than the last kilometres. I went there, and it worked.”

How it unfolded

Starting in Brugge, the peloton faced a long 158.8 kilometres – however, the race was entirely flat. The speed wasn’t high on the headwind running west towards De Panne, none of the early escapees ever held a big advantage, and all of them were caught before the finishing circuit. 

The peloton crossed the finish line together to embark on two laps with a total of 90.2 km remaining.

The first part of the circuit was almost due south, giving strong crosswinds from the west in the exposed area De Moeren. Entering this stretch with 80km to go, the race broke up somewhat, but the first group was still large, and most dropped riders were able to get back.

On the final lap, a crash on a narrow road just before De Moeren split the peloton, and a front group of 13 riders emerged at the end of the crosswind section with 32 km to go.

The lead split included many of the main contenders; D’hoore and Amy Pieters (both Team SD Worx), Lauretta Hanson and Chloe Hosking (both Trek-Segafredo), Norsgaard and Aude Biannic (both Movistar Team), Brown, Alice Barnes (Canyon-SRAM), Kirsten Wild, Julie Leth, and Lisa Brennauer (all Ceratizit-WNT), and Elisa Balsamo (Valcar-Travel & Service). Finally, Lotte Kopecky (Liv Racing) had missed the echelon but put in a big effort and bridged to the front.

Team DSM and Ale BTC Ljubljana worked hard to try and manage the gap as both teams' sprinters - Lorena Wiebes (DSM) and Marta Bastianelli (Ale) - missed the split.

Help came from teams Parkhotel Valkenburg and Drops-Le Col s/b TEMPUR that were chasing in the group behind, but despite their work, the gap increased to 45 seconds as the race passed through Veurne with 20km to go. 

The front group then lost Brennauer when she suffered a puncture two kilometres later, and the gap gradually shrunk to just under 30 seconds.

Brown surprised the rest of the group by attacking at the 10-kilometre mark and quickly opened a sizable gap, extending her advantage to 25 seconds in the dunes between Oostduinkerke and Koksijde as the group behind her did not cooperate well.

Brown lost some ground on the run-in to De Panne as Hanson, Pieters, Biannic, and Leth committed to the chase in service of the sprinter teammates, but the Australian held on to a seven-second gap at the finish to win.

Although she didn’t take part in the race, Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) continues to lead the Women’s WorldTour ranking. Runner-up Emma Norsgaard takes the lead in the Women’s WorldTour youth ranking.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Grace Brown (Aus) Team BikeExchange 4:03:17
2Emma Norsgaard (Den) Movistar Team Women 0:00:07
3Jolien D'Hoore (Bel) Team SD Worx
4Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Liv Racing
5Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
6Kirsten Wild (Ned) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team
7Chloe Hosking (Aus) Trek-Segafredo
8Alice Barnes (GBr) Canyon-SRAM Racing
9Amy Pieters (Ned) Team SD Worx
10Julie Leth (Den) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team
11Aude Biannic (Fra) Movistar Team Women
12Lauretta Hanson (Aus) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:25
13Lorena Wiebes (Ned) Team DSM 0:00:40
14Emilie Moberg (Nor) Drops-le Col Supported by Tempur
15Christine Majerus (Lux) Team SD Worx
16Stine Borgli (Nor) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
17Arlenis Sierra Canadilla (Cub) A.R. Monex Women's Pro Cycling Team
18Katia Ragusa (Ita) A.R. Monex Women's Pro Cycling Team
19Mylene de Zoete (Ned) NXTG Racing
20Femke Markus (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
21Pfeiffer Georgi (GBr) Team DSM
22Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Ale' BTC Ljubljana
23Sara Penton (Swe) Drops-le Col Supported by Tempur 0:00:45
24Susanne Andersen (Nor) Team DSM 0:00:48
25Lizbeth Yareli Salazar Vazquez (Mex) A.R. Monex Women's Pro Cycling Team 0:01:00
26Marlen Reusser (Swi) Ale' BTC Ljubljana 0:01:11
27Kelly Van Den Steen (Bel) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire
28Natalie van Gogh (Ned) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire 0:02:23
29Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team 0:02:27
30Jeanne Korevaar (Ned) Liv Racing 0:02:54
31Franziska Koch (Ger) Team DSM
32Amber van der Hulst (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg 0:03:34
33Mischa Bredewold (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
34Martina Alzini (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service 0:03:45
35Maria Martins (Por) Drops-le Col Supported by Tempur
36Alexis Ryan (USA) Canyon-SRAM Racing
37Jesse Vandenbulcke (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies
38Mariia Novolodskaia (Rus) A.R. Monex Women's Pro Cycling Team
39Céline van Houtum (Ned) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team
40Kathrin Schweinberger (Aut) Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximus Continental Team
41Marta Lach (Pol) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team
42Arianna Fidanza (Ita) Team BikeExchange
43Clara Copponi (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
44Michela Balducci (Ita) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo
45Fien Delbaere (Bel) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team
46Lone Meertens (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies
47Teniel Campbell (TTo) Team BikeExchange
48Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team
49Gaia Masetti (Ita) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo
50Debora Silvestri (Ita) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo
51Eugénie Duval (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
52Shirin van Anrooij (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
53Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Ciclismo Mundial
54Amalie Lutro (Nor) Hitec Products
55Claudia Jongerius (Ned) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire 0:03:50
56Maëlle Grossetete (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
57Evy Kuijpers (Ned) Liv Racing
58Chiara Consonni (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
59Valerie Demey (Bel) Liv Racing
60Laura Süßemilch (Ger) Ciclismo Mundial
61Alicia Gonzalez Blanco (Spa) Movistar Team Women
62Ilaria Sanguineti (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
63Roxane Fournier (Fra) Team SD Worx
64Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Movistar Team Women
65Jade Wiel (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
66Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Ale' BTC Ljubljana
67Elena Cecchini (Ita) Team SD Worx
68Leah Kirchmann (Can) Team DSM
69Hannah Barnes (GBr) Canyon-SRAM Racing
70Maaike Boogaard (Ned) Ale' BTC Ljubljana
71Silvia Persico (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service 0:03:55
72Alba Teruel Ribes (Spa) Movistar Team Women
73Yara Kastelijn (Ned) Ciclismo Mundial
74Sanne Cant (Bel) Ciclismo Mundial
75Ruth Winder (USA) Trek-Segafredo
76Marta Jaskulska (Pol) Liv Racing 0:06:19
77Maike Van der Duin (Ned) Drops-le Col Supported by Tempur
78Kylie Waterreus (Ned) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team
79Mariia Miliaeva (Rus) A.R. Monex Women's Pro Cycling Team
80Femke Gerritse (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
81Ilse Pluimers (Ned) NXTG Racing
82Aline Seitz (Swi) Team Rupelcleaning-Champion Lubricants
83Marijke De Smedt (Bel) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team
84Alice Sharpe (Irl) Team Rupelcleaning-Champion Lubricants
85Sara Van De Vel (Bel) Team Rupelcleaning-Champion Lubricants
86Sabrina Stultiens (Ned) Liv Racing
87Anna Trevisi (Ita) Ale' BTC Ljubljana
88Nathalie Bex (Bel) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire
89Danique Braam (Ned) Lotto Soudal Ladies
90Mia Griffin (Irl) Team Rupelcleaning-Champion Lubricants
91Hannah Ludwig (Ger) Canyon-SRAM Racing
92Amalie Dideriksen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
93Julia Soek (Ned) Team DSM
94Lauren Kitchen (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
95Giorgia Vettorello (Ita) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo
96Giorgia Bariani (Ita) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo
97Greta Marturano (Ita) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo
98Christina Schweinberger (Aut) Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximus Continental Team
99Maria Van 'T Geloof (Ned) Drops-le Col Supported by Tempur
100Maria Vittoria Sperotto (Ita) A.R. Monex Women's Pro Cycling Team
101Antonia Gröndahl (Fin) Team Rupelcleaning-Champion Lubricants
102Manon Bakker (Ned) Ciclismo Mundial
103Lea Lin Teutenberg (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team 0:06:25
104Lisa Klein (Ger) Canyon-SRAM Racing
105Trixi Worrack (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
106Sheyla Gutierrez Ruiz (Spa) Movistar Team Women
DNSTamara Dronova (Rus) Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling Team
DNSIuliia Galimullina (Rus) Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling Team
DNSAigul Gareeva (Rus) Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling Team
DNSGulnaz Khatuntseva (Rus) Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling Team
DNSDiana Klimova (Rus) Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling Team
DNSMarina Uvarova (Rus) Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling Team
DNFLonneke Uneken (Ned) Team SD Worx
DNFJessica Allen (Aus) Team BikeExchange
DNFJessica Roberts (GBr) Team BikeExchange
DNFSarah Roy (Aus) Team BikeExchange
DNFElise Chabbey (Swi) Canyon-SRAM Racing
DNFLaura Tomasi (Ita) Ale' BTC Ljubljana
DNFAlana Castrique (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies
DNFElise Vander Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies
DNFLieke Nooijen (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
DNFKirstie van Haaften (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
DNFVittoria Guazzini (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
DNFKelly Druyts (Bel) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire
DNFCaren Commissaris (Bel) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire
DNFJulie De Wilde (Bel) Ciclismo Mundial
DNFMinke Bakker (Ned) Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximus Continental Team
DNFVictoire Berteau (Fra) Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximus Continental Team
DNFDina Scavone (Bel) Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximus Continental Team
DNFMarieke van Witzenburg (Ned) Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximus Continental Team
DNFAnn-Sophie Duyck (Bel) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team
DNFRosalie van der Wolf (Ned) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team
DNFElizabeth Bennett (GBr) Drops-le Col Supported by Tempur
DNFCaroline Andersson (Swe) Hitec Products
DNFMartine Gjøs (Nor) Hitec Products
DNFAnn Helen Olsen (Nor) Hitec Products
DNFShari Bossuyt (Bel) NXTG Racing
DNFBritt Knaven (Bel) NXTG Racing
DNFCharlotte Kool (Ned) NXTG Racing
DNFEmily Wadsworth (GBr) NXTG Racing
DNFSvenja Betz (Ger) Team Rupelcleaning-Champion Lubricants

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Lukas Knöfler started working in cycling communications in 2013 and has seen the inside of the scene from many angles. Having worked as press officer for teams and races and written for several online and print publications, he has been Cyclingnews’ Women’s WorldTour correspondent since 2018.

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