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Elisa Balsamo wins Gent-Wevelgem Women in bunch sprint

Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) has continued her winning streak, sprinting to victory in the women's Gent-Wevelgem. 

After a last breakaway attempt by Grace Brown (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) was reeled in just before the flamme rouge, the Italian world champion was the fastest in the sprint, coming off the wheel of Lotte Kopecky (Team SD Worx) to beat Marianne Vos (Team Jumbo-Visma), who took second, and Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ceratizit-WNT), who finished third.

“It was a very hard race, and there were a lot of attacks. We decided to go for the sprint after the last Kemmelberg, and my team did a great job closing everything down. Ellen, Elisa, and Shirin were so, so strong, I really want to thank them and the whole team,” said Balsamo.

After three victories within a week, Balsamo has to be one of the favourites for next weekend’s Tour of Flanders, but she was noncommittal, enjoying the current success.

“Gent-Wevelgem is my favourite race; it is a dream come true. I am really, really happy. Now I have a week to rest, then I will think about Flanders,” she finished.

How it unfolded

The 159-kilometre race started at the Menin Gate in Ypres. Soon after the flag was dropped, Anne van Rooijen (Parkhotel Valkenburg) and Gulnaz Khatuntseva (Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad) attacked to form the break of the day. They built an advantage of 3:30, but the peloton closed the gap as the race progressed and caught them just before the start of the live broadcast at 65km to go.

Entering the hill zone with seven climbs, including two ascents of the Kemmelberg, one each from the Belvedère and the Ossuaire sides – the latter a premiere in the women’s race – riders started to attack.

Kopecky, Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM), Anna Henderson (Team Jumbo-Visma), and Liane Lippert (Team DSM) rode away between the Baneberg and Monteberg and just stayed ahead on the first Kemmelberg ascent. After the downhill, they were joined by Marta Cavalli (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope), Marlen Reusser (Team SD Worx), and Coryn Labecki (Team Jumbo-Visma).

A crash with 48km to go brought down Lourdes Oyarbide (Movistar Team) and pre-race favourite Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM). Although Wiebes got back up again, she eventually had to abandon the race.

Trek-Segafredo led the chase in the peloton and reeled in the front group with 44km to go. On the second time up the Baneberg, Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (Team SD Worx), Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ), Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo), and Julie De Wilde (Plantur-Pura) unsuccessfully tried to get away, and a large group entered the Kemmelberg, the last climb of the race.

Brown powered away on the steep, cobbled climb, and after the descent, Christine Majerus (Team SD Worx) and Longo Borghini bridged to her, with a larger group soon closing the gap, too. 

The last 30 kilometres saw a flurry of attacks as especially Team SD Worx tried to spoil a bunch sprint, with Van den Broek-Blaak, Reusser, and Elena Cecchini taking turns to attack, often joined by riders from other teams. However, none of these moves lasted for longer than a few seconds as the peloton was attentive and closed them down quickly.

With 12 kilometres remaining to the line, the peloton split in two, with the first group including Cecchini, Pfeiffer Georgi (Team DSM), Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo), Marta Lach (Ceratizit-WNT), Cavalli, Susanne Andersen (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team), Labecki, Valerie Demey (Liv Racing Xstra), Niewiadoma, Rachel Neylan (Cofidis), Bertizzolo, Julie Van de Velde (Plantur-Pura), and Sara Poidevin (EF-TIBCO-SVB). Majerus managed to bridge the small gap to the front at the 10-kilometre mark, and Van Dijk was called back to the second group a little bit later to help in the chase.

The European champion brought the second group back with 7.6 km to go, and although attacks immediately started again, nobody could get away until Brown made her move 3.5km from the line. Trek-Segafredo and Team Jumbo-Visma worked hard to chase down the Australian and eventually caught her just before the flamme rouge. 

In the sprint, Balsamo was unbeatable for the third time in a row, further extending her lead in the Women’s WorldTour ranking. With a 15th place, Georgi took the lead in the Women’s WorldTour U23 ranking.

Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo Women 3:19:15
2Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma Women
3Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team
4Lotte Kopecky (Bel) SD Worx
5Emma Norsgaard Bjerg (Den) Movistar Team Women
6Marta Bastianelli (Ita) UAE Team ADQ
7Susanne Andersen (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Women
8Tamara Dronova (Rus) Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad
9Silvia Persico (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
10Clara Copponi (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
11Sanne Cant (Bel) Plantur-Pura
12Arianna Fidanza (Ita) BikeExchange-Jayco Women
13Valerie Demey (Bel) Liv Racing Xstra
14Maaike Boogaard (Ned) UAE Team ADQ
15Pfeiffer Georgi (GBr) Team DSM Women
16Arlenis Sierra Canadilla (Cub) Movistar Team Women
17Julia Borgström (Swe) NXTG by Experza
18Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Team DSM Women
19Femke Markus (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
20Eugénie Duval (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
21Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) UAE Team ADQ
22Silke Smulders (Ned) Liv Racing Xstra
23Eleonora Camilla Gasparrini (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
24Shari Bossuyt (Bel) Canyon-Sram Racing
25Soraya Paladin (Ita) Canyon-Sram Racing
26Yara Kastelijn (Ned) Plantur-Pura
27Sara Poidevin (Can) EF Education-TIBCO-SVB
28Olivia Baril (Can) Valcar-Travel & Service
29Marta Lach (Pol) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team
30Rachel Neylan (Aus) Cofidis Women Team
31Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-Sram Racing
32Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon-Sram Racing
33Marlen Reusser (Swi) SD Worx
34Lonneke Uneken (Ned) SD Worx
35Christine Majerus (Lux) SD Worx
36Julie Van De Velde (Bel) Plantur-Pura
37Grace Brown (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
38Liane Lippert (Ger) Team DSM Women
39Coryn Rivera (USA) Jumbo-Visma Women 0:00:06
40Mischa Bredewold (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
41Marta Cavalli (Ita) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope 0:00:09
42Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo Women 0:00:12
43Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo Women
44Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (Ned) SD Worx 0:00:14
45Riejanne Markus (Ned) Jumbo-Visma Women 0:00:15
46Elena Cecchini (Ita) SD Worx
47Anna Henderson (GBr) Jumbo-Visma Women
48Shirin van Anrooij (Ned) Trek-Segafredo Women 0:00:41
49Julie De Wilde (Bel) Plantur-Pura 0:05:15
50Maike Van der Duin (Ned) Le Col Wahoo
51Eugenia Bujak (Slo) UAE Team ADQ
52Kylie Waterreus (Ned) Lotto Soudal Ladies
53Kaia Schmid (USA) Human Powered Health Women
54Fien Delbaere (Bel) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team
55Mieke Docx (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies
56Victoire Berteau (Fra) Cofidis Women Team
57Femke Gerritse (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
58Ilse Pluimers (Ned) NXTG by Experza
59Lone Meertens (Bel) NXTG by Experza
60Mareille Meijering (Ned) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team
61Charlotte Kool (Ned) Team DSM Women
62Maria Van 'T Geloof (Ned) Le Col Wahoo
63Lara Vieceli (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team
64Julie Leth (Den) Uno-X Pro Cycling Women
65Letizia Borghesi (Ita) EF Education-TIBCO-SVB
66Alice Barnes (GBr) Canyon-Sram Racing
67Tanja Erath (Ger) EF Education-TIBCO-SVB
68Elizabeth Holden (GBr) Le Col Wahoo
69Mie Bjørndal Ottestad (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Women
70Stine Borgli (Nor) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
71Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team
72Chiara Consonni (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
73Laura Süßemilch (Ger) Plantur-Pura
74Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
75Romy Kasper (Ger) Jumbo-Visma Women
76Lea Lin Teutenberg (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team
77Alexandra Manly (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco Women
78Ilaria Sanguineti (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
79Alison Jackson (Can) Liv Racing Xstra
80Aude Biannic (Fra) Movistar Team Women
DNFLauretta Hanson (Aus) Trek-Segafredo Women
DNFMarit Raaijmakers (Ned) Human Powered Health Women
DNFRachele Barbieri (Ita) Liv Racing Xstra
DNFEri Yonamine (Jpn) Human Powered Health Women
DNFChloe Hosking (Aus) Trek-Segafredo Women
DNFEvy Kuijpers (Ned) Human Powered Health Women
DNFNina Buijsman (Ned) Human Powered Health Women
DNFEmilia Fahlin (Swe) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
DNFElizabeth Banks (GBr) EF Education-TIBCO-SVB
DNFJustine Ghekiere (Bel) Plantur-Pura
DNFClara Honsinger (USA) EF Education-TIBCO-SVB
DNFKathrin Hammes (Ger) EF Education-TIBCO-SVB
DNFMylene de Zoete (Ned) NXTG by Experza
DNFAmber van der Hulst (Ned) Liv Racing Xstra
DNFMikayla Harvey (NZl) Canyon-Sram Racing
DNFJip van den Bos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma Women
DNFMinke Bakker (Ned) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire-Van Eyck Sport
DNFFranziska Brauße (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team
DNFEluned King (GBr) Le Col Wahoo
DNFGladys Verhulst (Fra) Le Col Wahoo
DNFBelle de Gast (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
DNFAnne Van Rooijen (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
DNFPien Limpens (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
DNFDanique Braam (Ned) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire-Van Eyck Sport
DNFNaomi De Roeck (Bel) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire-Van Eyck Sport
DNFCaren Commissaris (Bel) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire-Van Eyck Sport
DNFGeorgia Baker (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco Women
DNFOlha Kulynych (Ukr) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire-Van Eyck Sport
DNFWilma Olausson (Swe) Uno-X Pro Cycling Women
DNFMartina Alzini (Ita) Cofidis Women Team
DNFAlana Castrique (Bel) Cofidis Women Team
DNFValentine Fortin (Fra) Cofidis Women Team
DNFPernille Mathiesen (Den) Cofidis Women Team
DNFKristyna Burlová (Cze) Lotto Soudal Ladies
DNFKatrijn De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies
DNFSterre Vervloet (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies
DNFEefje Brandt (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies
DNFMaria Martins (Por) Le Col Wahoo
DNFClaudia Jongerius (Ned) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire-Van Eyck Sport
DNFTeniel Campbell (TTo) BikeExchange-Jayco Women
DNFGaia Masetti (Ita) NXTG by Experza
DNFAlicia Gonzalez Blanco (Spa) Movistar Team Women
DNFBarbara Guarischi (Ita) Movistar Team Women
DNFMaud Rijnbeek (Ned) NXTG by Experza
DNFLourdes Oyarbide Jimenez (Spa) Movistar Team Women
DNFHannah Buch (Ger) Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad
DNFGulnaz Khatuntseva (Rus) Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad
DNFDiana Klimova (Rus) Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad
DNFHannah Ludwig (Ger) Uno-X Pro Cycling Women
DNFMegan Jastrab (USA) Team DSM Women
DNFRebecca Koerner (Den) Uno-X Pro Cycling Women
DNFRuby Roseman-Gannon (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco Women
DNFJessica Allen (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco Women
DNFLorena Wiebes (Ned) Team DSM Women
DNFCéline van Houtum (Ned) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team
DNFElisa Serné (Ned) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team
DNFBente Van Teeseling (Ned) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team
DNFWillemijn Prins Ned) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team
DNFAnna Trevisi (Ita) UAE Team ADQ
DNFLinda Zanetti (Swi) UAE Team ADQ
DNFKatia Ragusa (Ita) Liv Racing Xstra
DNFLéa Stern (Swi) Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad
DNSLily Williams (USA) Human Powered Health Women

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