Festival Elsy Jacobs: Anna Henderson wins prologue

Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma) stormed across the technical 2.2km course in 3:09 to win the prologue of the 2022 Ceratizit Festival Elsy Jacobs and don the first leader's jersey for the three-day race.

Silvia Persico (Valcar-Travel & Service), the eighth rider to start on Friday, set the best time of 3:13, which held for most of the day until Demi Vollering (Team SD Worx) crossed the line two seconds better. Just two riders later, Henderson crossed the line with the fastest time that settled the podium, and GC standings, Vollering taking second and Persico third.

It was the first victory of the season for Henderson, who wore the colours as the British time trial champion. All three of her Jumbo-Visma teammates finished in the top 15 - Karlijn Swinkels was fourth in the prologue, Jip van den Bos was sixth, and Noemi Ruëgg finished in 14th. Amber Kraak had to withdraw due to illness. 

"It took me some time to recover from Liège-Bastogne-Liège last weekend. It’s great to get my first win of the season and do it in my champion’s jersey," Henderson said after the race in a team statement. 

"It was a course for riders with a punch and it was very technical. You can have all the power in the world, but if you don’t go through the corners quickly, you can’t win here. I explored the course at least fifteen times. That worked well. It was a matter of giving everything until the line."

Henderson scooped up honors for classification leads with her ride, but will wear the yellow jersey on stage 1, while Henderson will wear the green point jersey and Persico will wear the QOM polka-dot jersey. Lieke Nooijen (Parkhotel Valkenburg) earned the white young rider award.

Vollering was one of the favourites, who is joined by Luxembourg national champion and former overall winner Christine Majerus and four other riders. Majerus finished seven seconds off the winning time and sits in 11th place, one spot behind teammate and Hungarian champion Blanka Kata Vas.

Stage 1 on Saturday has two loops for 122.8km through Luxembourg, the first circuit from Steinfort at 42.4km and then four passes of a local circuit of 20.1km.

Results powered by FirstCycling 

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