The Ronde van Vlaanderen is always an epic race but the cold, windy conditions made the 20th edition a really hard one. Of the AG Insurance – Soudal Quick-Step riders, Ally Wollaston attacked and stayed off the front for a long time, Ashleigh Moolman Pasio suffered bad luck with a crash and mechanical issues tested Mireia Benito.
“I had that puncture between the first two cobbled sectors and that was a bad place because the car was far away,” Mireia said. “I did a huge effort to get back to the bunch to be able to help the team some more. When I was almost back in the peloton there was a crash. I landed softly but my chain came off. That was race over for me. I am disappointed but that’s racing. As always, we were an awesome team with Ally on the attack. We are all proud of her,” Mireia smiled.
Ally raced her first Flanders and attacked, initially alone and later joined by Elinor Barker and Elise Chabbey.
“My plan was to go after the Molenberg, but a perfect moment presented itself before that so I went for it,” said the New Zealand national champion. “The idea was to make sure the team didn’t have to do any work in the bunch and could relax. My first Tour of Flanders was really amazing. I loved it so much and I already told everyone I can’t wait to do it all again next year.”
Ally finished in 77th place with Maud Rijnbeek just before her in 69th. Romy Kasper, Justine Ghekiere and Ashleigh were in the first big peloton at 3.45 minutes from race winner Lotte Kopecky.