How the race finished
Pfeiffer Georgi (Team DSM) took a solo win at Brugge de Panne, with Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) and Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx) first across the line from the small chasing bunch.
Full results are available below.
How it happened
Traditionally one of the longest races on the calendar, the 2023 Brugge de Panne route saw the women’s peloton race a windy 163km. The flat parcours traditionally lends itself to a sprint finish, but today teams took advantage of strong crosswinds in the De Moeren area to shake things up.
Starting from Brugge on wet roads, the splits in the peloton came thick and fast, with an almost constant effect of splitting and regrouping on the winding flat roads. Crashes also peppered the race, with multiple riders going down and the race even being neutralised at one stage. An attempt at a solo break by Mieke Docx (Lotto Dstny Ladies) was swallowed up quickly, and although the roads dried out the chaos continued.
With around 72km to go the hammer went down on the front, forming an echelon which split the peloton into three distinct groups. Riders were all over the road, scrabbling to find shelter or get across to the riders ahead. The 12 riders in the front group were brought back, but again the peloton would not settle.
Echelons formed again with around 55km left to race, and a select group were quickly clear and began working together to consolidate their gap. Favourites Lorena Wiebes (Team SD Worx) and Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo), were both here, along with Pfeiffer Georgi and Megan Jastrab (Team DSM), Christina Schweinberger and Julie de Wilde (Fenix-Deceuninck), Shari Bossyut and Maike van der Duin (Canyon//Sram Racing), Alice Barnes (Human Powered Health), and Amelie Dierdriksen (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team).
Having missed the front split, UAE Team ADQ took up chasing on the peloton behind, trying to bring Chiara Consonni and Marta Bastianelli back into contention. The gap hovered for a time at around 17 seconds, but then quickly started going out. With her teammates’ legs tiring, Consonni herself went off solo in chase of the leaders, with riders from FDJ-Suez and AG , who both also missed the break, sniffing around the front. Ultimately Consonni could not get across, and once she dropped back again the gap to the front bunch went out once again.
It was slowly becoming apparent that this was the move of the day, and we would see it go all the way to the line. Recognising the powerful sprinters still among the leaders, the pairs of riders from DSM, Canyon//Sram Racing and Fenix-Deceunink could each be seen trying to formulate a plan to go for the win. It was DSM who finally launched an attack, with Megan Jastrab punching off the front. It was easily closed but the power on the front caused a small split in the front group. In the race to close things back up, a touch of wheels left some riders on the ground, and the front group stayed clear.
A few kilometres further down the road, Megan Jastrab tried again. Shari Bossuyt closed the gap with the others lined out on wheel. Completing their tactical masterclass, Jastrab’s teammate Pfeiffer Georgi launched from the back of the bunch, coming up the outside edge and catching the group unawares. The group of sprinters were left looking at each other. Georgi time trialled away to her first world tour victory.
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