World champion Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx) secured a solo victory at the 1.Pro Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Elite Women on Saturday. Danish national champion Emma Cecile Norsgaard of Movistar took the sprint from the reduced bunch with van der Breggen’s SD Worx teammate, Amy Pieters, rounding off the podium in third.
Race favourite Lotte Kopecky (Liv Racing) just missed out on third after covering attacks earlier in the race.
"I'm really happy, of course, because it's the best way to start the season," Van der Breggen said in a post-race interview. "Especially when the team is riding like this, it gives a lot of confidence for the upcoming races, and also for the rest of the season."
After the cancellation of earlier races, the women’s peloton finally got their 2021 season underway at the 13th edition of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Elite Women for 126km of racing.
It was the 53rd solo win of Van der Breggen's career, after an aggressive final 50km, which saw multiple attacks from her SD Worx teammates.
Van der Breggen established her gap on the decisive Bosberg climb, Kopecky and Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) were the only riders able to attempt to follow but the double world champion rode away over the top of the climb.
How it unfolded
On a dry and relatively warm spring day in Flanders it was a return to the SD Worx of old, with the once-unbeatable team again using their strength in numbers to wear down the competition.
After just 4km, a break of three formed with Elizabeth Bennett (Drops-Le Col), Kylie Waterreus (Multum Accountants LSK Ladies Cycling Team), and Claudia Jongerius (Bingoal Casino - Chevalmeire Cycling Team) getting a gap which at its largest stretched to over five minutes.
However, with 38km to go SD Worx harnessed their collective strength — including Anna van der Breggen — to bring back the leaders just before the Leberg climb.
The climb caused splits in the bunch which caught out two pre-race favourites; Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) and Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) as well as Deignan’s teammate Ellen van Dijk.
After the damage caused by the Leberg, a leading group was established which saw SD Worx, Liv Racing and Jumbo-Visma well represented as well as Canyon-SRAM and Ale BTC City Lubljana with a second chasing group one minute behind.
As the bunch reached the next climb, the Berendries, it was Demi Vollering of SD Worx driving the pace which saw the winner of the 2020 WorldTour Youth jersey, Liane Lippert, distanced. Anna van der Breggen attacked over the top with Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) on her wheel but both were quickly reeled back to the group.
With 30km to go, Vollering put in a strong attack on the Elverenberg Vosssenhol, which saw her form a gap which she then sustained. Hannah Barnes (canyon-SRAM), Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Trek-Segaferdo) and Lotte Kopecky (Liv Racing) tried to force a chase but were soon neutralised by Vollering’s teammates, after which the peloton seemed to sit up, allowing Vollering’s lead to extend to 30 seconds.
Liv Racing, with Soraya Palladin and Jeanne Korevaar, were the only team willing to take up the chase as SD Worx used their strength in numbers to marshal the bunch and chase down attacks.
As the bunch approached the Kappelmuur, Vollering’s gap began to come down and Longo Borghini saw her moment to attack, taking Kopecky with her. Unfortunately for the pair, Van der Breggen also followed and the gap was closed.
Van der Breggen’s efforts failed to stop the group from catching Vollering and the 24-year-old was caught at the bottom of the descent by the reduced group comprised of favourites including Longo Borghini, Kopecky, Niewiadoma, Pieters, and Uttrup Ludwig and Cavalli (both FDJ).
The world champion then put in an attack of her own with Lotte Kopecky the only rider able to follow, however the two were soon reeled back in. A lull followed during which some of those who were distanced returned to the front group including Lisa Brennauer.
With 15km to go, Longo Borghini put in another attack with Vollering and Kopecky following. The trio got a small gap on the group however Marlen Ruesser of Ale BTC City Lubjlana rode hard on the front for her teammate Marta Bastianelli to bring the three riders back just before the Bosberg.
The Bosberg proved to be the decisive climb of the race for the women as van der Breggen chose the steep, cobbled climb to launch the attack which ultimately won her the race. In an impressive show of strength, the double world champion attacked the climb, riding everyone else off her wheel, carrying her move over the top and establishing a gap which stuck to the end.
Meanwhile, behind van der Breggen the peloton split into two groups again with one minute between them, but with 11km to go the two groups merged. Once again it was Liv Racing taking up the lion’s share of the chasing with Uttrup Ludwig also coming to the front.
The remaining riders may have hoped that the headwind to the finish might slow van der Breggen down, however with Pieters and Chantal van den Broek-Blaak covering moves it was impossible for anyone to escape the group.
Grace Brown of Team BikeExchange attempted a flier with 8km to go, which Pieters immediately followed, the two managed a small gap, however the group ultimately came back together to contest a bunch kick for second.
Emma Norsgaard of Movistar won the sprint and Pieters — after spending the race covering moves — came third. Kopecky narrowly missed the podium having burned most of her matches earlier in the race.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Team SD Worx||3:21:00|
|2||Emma Cecilie Jørgensen (Den) Movistar Team Women||0:00:23|
|3||Amy Pieters (Ned) Team SD Worx|
|4||Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Liv Racing|
|5||Hannah Barnes (GBr) Canyon-SRAM Racing|
|6||Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Ale' BTC Ljubljana|
|7||Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team|
|8||Grace Brown (Aus) Team BikeExchange|
|9||Marta Cavalli (Ita) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|10||Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo||0:00:26|
|11||Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (Ned) Team SD Worx|
|12||Riejanne Markus (Ned) Jumbo-Visma Women Team|
|13||Demi Vollering (Ned) Team SD Worx|
|14||Marlen Reusser (Swi) Ale' BTC Ljubljana|
|15||Amanda Spratt (Aus) Team BikeExchange|
|16||Soraya Paladin (Ita) Liv Racing|
|17||Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|18||Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM Racing||0:00:33|
|19||Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service||0:02:22|
|20||Anna Henderson (GBr) Jumbo-Visma Women Team|
|21||Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Movistar Team Women|
|22||Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) Liv Racing|
|23||Emilia Fahlin (Swe) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|24||Elise Chabbey (Swi) Canyon-SRAM Racing|
|25||Audrey Cordon Ragot (Fra) Trek-Segafredo|
|26||Christine Majerus (Lux) Team SD Worx|
|27||Jeanne Korevaar (Ned) Liv Racing|
|28||Jolien D'Hoore (Bel) Team SD Worx|
|29||Juliette Labous (Fra) Team DSM|
|30||Eri Yonamine (Jpn) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank|
|31||Jelena Eric (Srb) Movistar Team Women|
|32||Elizabeth Banks (GBr) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team||0:02:27|
|33||Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo||0:04:40|
|34||Marta Lach (Pol) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team||0:07:03|
|35||Liane Lippert (Ger) Team DSM|
|36||Mischa Bredewold (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg||0:07:07|
|37||Malgorzata Jasinska (Pol) Women Cycling Sport||0:07:08|
|38||Amber van der Hulst (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg||0:07:13|
|39||Kathrin Schweinberger (Aut) Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximus Continental Team|
|40||Maria Van 'T Geloof (Ned) Drops-le Col Supported by Tempur|
|41||Maria Martins (Por) Drops-le Col Supported by Tempur|
|42||Lorena Wiebes (Ned) Team DSM|
|43||Femke Markus (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg|
|44||Abby-Mae Parkinson (GBr) Lotto Soudal Ladies|
|45||Anouska Koster (Ned) Jumbo-Visma Women Team|
|46||Catalina Anais Soto Campos (Chi) NXTG Racing|
|47||Eva Buurman (Ned) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank|
|48||Bryony van Velzen (Ned) Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximus Continental Team|
|49||Maike Van der Duin (Ned) Drops-le Col Supported by Tempur|
|50||Maaike Boogaard (Ned) Ale' BTC Ljubljana|
|51||Eugenia Bujak (Slo) Ale' BTC Ljubljana|
|52||Thalita De Jong (Ned) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire|
|53||Valerie Demey (Bel) Liv Racing|
|54||Shari Bossuyt (Bel) NXTG Racing|
|55||Marit Raaijmakers (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg|
|56||Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team|
|57||Laura Tomasi (Ita) Ale' BTC Ljubljana|
|58||Stine Borgli (Nor) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|59||Gladys Verhulst (Fra) Arkea Pro Cycling Team|
|60||Nicole Steigenga (Ned) Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximus Continental Team|
|61||Fien Van Eynde (Bel) Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximus Continental Team|
|62||Teuntje Beekhuis (Ned) Jumbo-Visma Women Team|
|63||Typhaine Laurance (Fra) Arkea Pro Cycling Team|
|64||Jesse Vandenbulcke (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies|
|65||Amalie Lutro (Nor) Hitec Products|
|66||Amelia Sharpe (GBr) NXTG Racing|
|67||Nathalie Bex (Bel) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire|
|68||Pfeiffer Georgi (GBr) Team DSM|
|69||Natalie van Gogh (Ned) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire|
|70||Lisa Klein (Ger) Canyon-SRAM Racing|
|71||Elizabeth Bennett (GBr) Drops-le Col Supported by Tempur|
|72||Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Team DSM|
|73||Lone Meertens (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies|
|74||Hanna Nilsson (Swe) Lotto Soudal Ladies|
|75||Ann-Sophie Duyck (Bel) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team|
|76||Lucie Jounier (Fra) Arkea Pro Cycling Team|
|77||Greta Richioud (Fra) Arkea Pro Cycling Team|
|78||Susanne Andersen (Nor) Team DSM|
|79||Julie Leth (Den) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team|
|80||Tanja Erath (Ger) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank|
|81||Sara Penton (Swe) Drops-le Col Supported by Tempur|
|82||Sara Van De Vel (Bel) Team Rupelcleaning-Champion Lubricants|
|83||Marijke De Smedt (Bel) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team|
|84||Ilaria Sanguineti (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service|
|85||Svenja Betz (Ger) Team Rupelcleaning-Champion Lubricants|
|86||Leah Thomas (USA) Movistar Team Women|
|87||Vittoria Guazzini (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service|
|88||Christina Schweinberger (Aut) Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximus Continental Team|
|89||Arianna Fidanza (Ita) Team BikeExchange|
|90||Chiara Consonni (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service|
|91||Teniel Campbell (TTo) Team BikeExchange|
|92||Caroline Andersson (Swe) Hitec Products|
|93||Romy Kasper (Ger) Jumbo-Visma Women Team|
|94||Evy Kuijpers (Ned) Liv Racing|
|95||Sarah Roy (Aus) Team BikeExchange|
|96||Sarah Rijkes (Aut) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team|
|97||Eugénie Duval (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|98||Nina Buijsman (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg|
|99||Femke Gerritse (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg|
|100||Anna Plichta (Pol) Lotto Soudal Ladies|
|101||Mieke Kröger (Ger) Hitec Products|
|102||Alexis Ryan (USA) Canyon-SRAM Racing|
|103||Leah Dixon (GBr) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank|
|104||Chloe Hosking (Aus) Trek-Segafredo|
|105||Mavi Garcia (Spa) Ale' BTC Ljubljana|
|106||Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Canyon-SRAM Racing|
|107||Pernille Mathiesen (Den) Jumbo-Visma Women Team|
|108||Aude Biannic (Fra) Movistar Team Women||0:07:28|
|109||Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Movistar Team Women|
|110||Trixi Worrack (Ger) Trek-Segafredo|
|111||Elizabeth Deignan (GBr) Trek-Segafredo|
|DNF||Ilse Pluimers (Ned) NXTG Racing|
|DNF||Charlotte Kool (Ned) NXTG Racing|
|DNF||Amber Lacompte (Bel) Team Rupelcleaning-Champion Lubricants|
|DNF||Isabelle Beckers (Bel) Team Rupelcleaning-Champion Lubricants|
|DNF||Ann Helen Olsen (Nor) Hitec Products|
|DNF||Mia Griffin (Irl) Team Rupelcleaning-Champion Lubricants|
|DNF||Diana Carolina Peñuela Martinez (Col) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank|
|DNF||Kristen Faulkner (USA) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank|
|DNF||Silvia Persico (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service|
|DNF||Antonia Gröndahl (Fin) Team Rupelcleaning-Champion Lubricants|
|DNF||Antri Christoforou (Cyp) Women Cycling Sport|
|DNF||Marieke van Witzenburg (Ned) Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximus Continental Team|
|DNF||Demmy Druyts (Bel) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire|
|DNF||Claudia Jongerius (Ned) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire|
|DNF||Demi De Jong (Ned) Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire|
|DNF||Eleonora Camilla Gasparrini (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service|
|DNF||Fien Delbaere (Bel) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team|
|DNF||Céline van Houtum (Ned) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team|
|DNF||Kylie Waterreus (Ned) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team|
|DNF||Anna Badegruber (Aut) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team|
|DNF||Christa Riffel (Ger) Hitec Products|
|DNF||Marie Morgane Le Deunff (Fra) Arkea Pro Cycling Team|
|DNF||Julia Borgström (Swe) NXTG Racing|
|DNF||Nicole Hanselmann (Swi) Women Cycling Sport|
|DNF||Tereza Neumanová (Cze) Women Cycling Sport|
|DNF||Luciana Roland (Arg) Women Cycling Sport|
|DNF||Alessia Vigilia (Ita) Women Cycling Sport|
|DNF||Finja Smekal (Ger) Drops-le Col Supported by Tempur|
|DNF||Martine Gjøs (Nor) Hitec Products|
|DNF||Jessica Allen (Aus) Team BikeExchange|
|DNF||Elise Vander Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies|
|DNF||Léa Curinier (Fra) Arkea Pro Cycling Team|
|DNS||Brodie Chapman (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
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