Gran Fondo world champion Marie Dessart makes road début at Lotto Soudal
"This is a dream come true."
Past Friday and Sunday the team was racing in the Dutch province of Drenthe.
On Friday the Lotto Soudal Ladies took part in the Drentse acht van Westerveld. Due to a crash in the last kilometres Annelies Dom, Chantal Hoffmann and Marjolein van’t Geloof were distanced. About thirty riders sprinted for victory. Alexis Ryan beat Jolien D’hoore and Chloe Hosking. Valerie Demey just missed out on a place on top ten as she finished eleventh.
On Sunday the second Women’s WorldTour race of the season was scheduled. After only five kilometres of racing at Ronde van Drenthe, Annelies Dom attacked with the Danish rider Louise Norman Hansen. Unfortunately the duo was sent in the wrong direction about ten kilometres further, causing them to chase the bunch instead of leading the race! Isabelle Beckers had a puncture on the fourth cobblestone sector. Because of the high pace it was impossible to return to the bunch.
About six kilometres before hitting the first of four ascents of the VAM-berg Marjolein van’t Geloof attacked, but she didn’t get any support. In the run-up to the VAM-berg the peloton was strung out and Marjolein got reeled in. The peloton split on the climbs. After the last ascent of the VAM-berg Annelies Dom (who had done a serious effort after going off-course a second time) and Valerie Demey were part of a breakaway, but this group didn’t get much space neither.
A group of about eighty riders entered the finale together. Because it was too dangerous, two cobblestone sectors were taken out of the course. Just before the last cobbles a crash happened at the front of the peloton. Annelies Dom, Chantal Hoffmann and Marjolein van’t Geloof got held up. Valerie Demey and Demi de Jong, who had an off-day on Friday, were part of the first group of 25 riders. A few kilometres further a large group returned to the front. Like on Friday, it was a sprint for victory. This time Amy Pieters was the fastest. Alexis Ryan had to be satisfied with the second place, while Chloe Hosking got third again. Valerie Demey finished sixteenth and Demi de Jong was nineteenth.
Puck Moonen rode in Ooike on Sunday, where Sofie De Vuyst won. Puck crashed during the race, but without too much damage. She crossed the finish line as 28th. A day earlier Alana Castrique and Julie Van de Velde had participated in a race in Oostduinkerke. A front group of four battled for the victory. Sarah Ingelbrecht won the race. One and a half minutes later a large group with Alana (21st) and Julie (44th) crossed the finish line.