Elisa Balsamo wins crash-marred Classic Brugge-De Panne Women

Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) has won the Classic Brugge-De Panne. With little to no wind, the peloton was reduced only by several crashes. The last crash in a corner with 2.4 kilometres to go only took down two riders but split the peloton into several groups that only came together again on the finishing straight.

Barbara Guarischi (Movistar Team) tried a late attack but was closed down by Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx), leading out her teammate Lonneke Uneken. 

Balsamo launched her sprint 175 metres from the line and held off Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) and Marta Bastianelli (UAE Team ADQ) to win her second consecutive Women's WorldTour race.

“It is a total surprise,” said the world champion after the sprint. “I was working for Chloe Hosking, but in the last kilometres she told me that there was a crash and that I have to sprint.”

With no teammates left to lead her out, Balsamo had to find her own way. “I had to try to find the best position. I did a good sprint, and I am very happy. Winning in the rainbow jersey is amazing, very emotional, and my parents are here too. I want to enjoy this jersey from the first day to the last,” she finished.

How it unfolded

Like the men the day before, the women’s race started in Brugge. After 55.5 kilometres, the peloton hit the 45.1-kilometre finishing circuit near Veurne, following it to the finish on the Veurnestraat in De Panne from where they would do two full laps of the circuit for a total distance of 162.8 km – the longest race in the Women’s WorldTour.

There were several attacks early in the race, but no breakaway held a lead that was significantly bigger than a minute. The longest-lived break of Nicole Steigenga (Team Coop-Hitec Products), April Tacey (Le Col-Wahoo), Antonia Gröndahl (IBCT), Hannah Ludwig (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team), Kirstie van Haaften, and Marith Vanhove (both Parkhotel Valkenburg) just made it to the start of the live broadcast before being caught with 75 km to go.

A four-rider breakaway of Sara Van de Vel (IBCT), Senne Knaven (AG Insurance-NXTG), Fien Delbaere (Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team), and Danique Braam (Bingoal-Chevalmeire-Van Eyck) soon took over.

With 62km to go, Katia Ragusa tried to move up in the peloton in the gutter but hit a pothole that caused her to crash, also taking down Georgia Williams (Team BikeExchange-Jayco), Léa Curinier (Team DSM), and Marjolein van’t Geloof (Le Col-Wahoo), though all four could continue the race. From the breakaway, Braam won the prize sprint 59.8 km from the finish, and four kilometres later, the break was reeled in.

Entering the final lap with one large peloton and with very little wind, a mass sprint was on the cards. Team SD Worx tried to force a selection on the long, exposed road through De Moeren and succeeded in creating small gaps, but things quickly came back together. Alice Sharpe (IBCT) then launched a solo attack with 29 km to go, her gap hovering around 15 seconds for a while. Ten kilometres later, Mieke Kröger (Human Powered Health) powered past a faltering Sharpe.

The former time trial champion, held a nine-second advantage over the peloton when there was a huge crash in the peloton as it was navigating a traffic island, with riders and bikes landing on top of each other or getting stuck in roadside hedges. Fewer than 50 riders remained in the peloton when it caught Kröger 14.4km from the finish. A last attack initiated by Mieke Docx (Lotto Soudal Ladies) was brought back by Team DSM.

In the run-in to the sprint finish, Anna Trevisi (UAE Team ADQ) cut a corner too close with 2.4km to go and crashed, also taking down Wiebes’ lead-out woman Charlotte Kool and splitting the peloton into several small groups.

Bastianelli closed the gap to the first group, and 23 riders entered the finishing straight together. Coming out of the corner in fourth position, Guarischi launched her last-ditch attempt to anticipate a sprint, and Kopecky’s effort to reel her in split the group, leaving only ten riders to sprint for the win, with Balsamo having the upper hand.

With her second consecutive Women’s WorldTour victory after the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, the world champion also defends her lead in the Women’s WorldTour ranking while her teammate Shirin van Anrooij continues to lead the Women’s WorldTour U23 ranking.

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Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo Women 3:52:11
2Lorena Wiebes (Ned) Team DSM Women
3Marta Bastianelli (Ita) UAE Team ADQ
4Lonneke Uneken (Ned) SD Worx
5Maria Martins (Por) Le Col Wahoo
6Emma Norsgaard Bjerg (Den) Movistar Team Women
7Chiara Consonni (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
8Alice Barnes (GBr) Canyon-Sram Racing
9Lotte Kopecky (Bel) SD Worx 0:00:03
10Clara Copponi (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
11Nicole Steigenga (Ned) Team Coop-Hitec Products
12Susanne Andersen (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Women
13Maaike Boogaard (Ned) UAE Team ADQ
14Femke Markus (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
15Arianna Fidanza (Ita) BikeExchange-Jayco Women
16Chloe Hosking (Aus) Trek-Segafredo Women
17Lily Williams (USA) Human Powered Health Women
18Lea Lin Teutenberg (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team
19Julie De Wilde (Bel) Plantur-Pura
20Shari Bossuyt (Bel) Canyon-Sram Racing 0:00:07
21Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Movistar Team Women 0:00:10
22Elisa Serné (Ned) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team 0:00:12
23Sylvie Swinkels (Ned) Team Coop-Hitec Products
24Eleonora Camilla Gasparrini (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
25Kylie Waterreus (Ned) Lotto Soudal Ladies
26Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon-Sram Racing
27Silvia Persico (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
28Christine Majerus (Lux) SD Worx
29Mieke Docx (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies
30Makayla Macpherson (USA) Human Powered Health Women
31Maria Van 'T Geloof (Ned) Le Col Wahoo
32Ilaria Sanguineti (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
33Aude Biannic (Fra) Movistar Team Women
34Alicia Gonzalez Blanco (Spa) Movistar Team Women 0:00:19
35Leah Kirchmann (Can) Team DSM Women
36Laura Süßemilch (Ger) Plantur-Pura
37Sanne Cant (Bel) Plantur-Pura
38Julie Stockman (Bel) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team
39Eugenia Bujak (Slo) UAE Team ADQ 0:00:22
40Emilia Fahlin (Swe) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
41Marit Raaijmakers (Ned) Human Powered Health Women
42Lourdes Oyarbide Jimenez (Spa) Movistar Team Women
43Mieke Kröger (Ger) Human Powered Health Women
44Evy Kuijpers (Ned) Human Powered Health Women
45Margaux Vigie (Fra) Valcar-Travel & Service 0:00:31
46Mie Bjørndal Ottestad (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Women
47Henrietta Christie (NZl) Human Powered Health Women 0:00:42
48Rosalie van der Wolf (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg 0:00:51
49Letizia Paternoster (Ita) Trek-Segafredo Women 0:00:53
50Elena Cecchini (Ita) SD Worx 0:01:16
51Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team 0:01:06
52Pauliena Rooijakkers (Ned) Canyon-Sram Racing 0:01:16
53Charlotte Kool (Ned) Team DSM Women 0:01:51
54Anna Trevisi (Ita) UAE Team ADQ 0:01:53
55Jelena Eric (Srb) Movistar Team Women
56Mylene de Zoete (Ned) NXTG by Experza 0:02:00
57Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) UAE Team ADQ
58Kristyna Burlová (Cze) Lotto Soudal Ladies
59Hannah Buch (Ger) Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad 0:02:01
60Nina Kessler (Ned) BikeExchange-Jayco Women
61Minke Bakker (Ned) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire-Van Eyck Sport 0:02:03
62Fien Delbaere (Bel) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team
63Hannah Ludwig (Ger) Uno-X Pro Cycling Women
64Haylee Fuller (Aus) IBCT
65Kirstie van Haaften (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
66Yuli Van Der Molen (Ned) NXTG by Experza
67Lena Charlotte Reißner (Ger) IBCT
68Caren Commissaris (Bel) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire-Van Eyck Sport
69Sara Van De Vel (Bel) IBCT
70Amalie Dideriksen (Den) Trek-Segafredo Women
71Georgia Williams (NZl) BikeExchange-Jayco Women
72Inge van der Heijden (Ned) Plantur-Pura
73Teniel Campbell (TTo) BikeExchange-Jayco Women 0:02:09
74Rachele Barbieri (Ita) Liv Racing Xstra
75Alison Jackson (Can) Liv Racing Xstra 0:02:57
76Julie Hendrickx (Bel) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire-Van Eyck Sport
77Valerie Demey (Bel) Liv Racing Xstra
78Sara Maes (Bel) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team
79Josie Nelson (GBr) Team Coop-Hitec Products
80April Tacey (GBr) Le Col Wahoo
81Kathrin Schweinberger (Aut) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team
82Maike Van der Duin (Ned) Le Col Wahoo
83Lara Vieceli (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team
84Roxane Fournier (Fra) SD Worx
85Eluned King (GBr) Le Col Wahoo
86Eva Buurman (Ned) Liv Racing Xstra
87Antonia Gröndahl (Fin) IBCT 0:03:03
88Sofie van Rooijen (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg 0:03:08
89Linda Zanetti (Swi) UAE Team ADQ
90Rebecca Koerner (Den) Uno-X Pro Cycling Women
91Wilma Olausson (Swe) Uno-X Pro Cycling Women
92Shirin van Anrooij (Ned) Trek-Segafredo Women
93Eefje Brandt (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies
94Katrijn De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies 0:03:47
95Claudia Jongerius (Ned) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire-Van Eyck Sport
96Lauretta Hanson (Aus) Trek-Segafredo Women
97Senne Knaven (Bel) NXTG by Experza
98Leonie Bos (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
99Amber van der Hulst (Ned) Liv Racing Xstra 0:04:00
100Tamara Dronova (Rus) Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad
101Diana Klimova (Rus) Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad 0:04:01
102Nora Tveit (Nor) Team Coop-Hitec Products
103Kiona Crabbé (Bel) Plantur-Pura
104Eugénie Duval (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
105Emma Boogaard (Ned) Team Coop-Hitec Products
106Caroline Andersson (Swe) Team Coop-Hitec Products
107Grace Brown (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
108Maëlle Grossetete (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
109Céline van Houtum (Ned) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team
110Eline Van Rooijen (Ned) NXTG by Experza
111Stine Borgli (Nor) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
112Gaia Masetti (Ita) NXTG by Experza
113Julie Leth (Den) Uno-X Pro Cycling Women
114Georgia Baker (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco Women 0:08:26
115Danique Braam (Ned) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire-Van Eyck Sport
116Bente Van Teeseling (Ned) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team
117Alice Sharpe (Irl) IBCT
118Jessica Allen (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco Women 0:08:28
119Sandra Alonso Dominguez (Spa) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team
120Franziska Brauße (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team
121Megan Jastrab (USA) Team DSM Women
122Léa Curinier (Fra) Team DSM Women
123Julie Van De Velde (Bel) Plantur-Pura
124Esmée Peperkamp (Ned) Team DSM Women 0:08:33
125Katia Ragusa (Ita) Liv Racing Xstra
DNFLéa Stern (Swi) Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad
DNFInes Van De Paar (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies
DNFGladys Verhulst (Fra) Le Col Wahoo
DNFElla Harris (NZl) Canyon-Sram Racing
DNFBarbara Sniezynska (Pol) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire-Van Eyck Sport
DNFGulnaz Khatuntseva (Rus) Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad
DNFKarolina Kumiega (Pol) Valcar-Travel & Service
DNFDitte Lenseclaes (Bel) IBCT
DNFMaud Rijnbeek (Ned) NXTG by Experza
DNFMarith Vanhove (Bel) Parkhotel Valkenburg

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