Gent-Wevelgem was, as always, a tough day out in West Flanders. Conditions were challenging this year with rain and wind. Many crashes hampered the AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step elite and junior teams. As a result, the teams did not achieve the placings they had hoped for, but they nevertheless did show a fighting spirit.
The juniors had an early start. After a chaotic race where Fee Knaven and Margot Marasco went on the attack multiple times, the finish came down to a sprint. Sadly, a large crash at just 200 metres from the line, wiped out the team’s chance of a good result. Best placed rider was Fee in 20th place.
“I really loved racing in those conditions with rain and wind,” said Margot enthusiastically, her love for the race not dampened by the conditions. “We were unlucky today with two crashes that involved girls of the team, but we kept our heads up and fought until the end. The results are not what we wanted, but we show our fighting spirit and managed to ride together. The best is yet to come!”
The AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step elite team started their race without the two sprint aces, Lotta Henttala and Ally Wollaston, who were both ill. Sadly, crashes were also the main picture of this race with the wet roads and nervousness causing havoc.
Marthe Goossens, Maud Rijnbeek, Lone Meertens, Romy Kasper and Julia Borgström started the 155 kilometre-long race with Kemmelberg and wind-swept De Moeren in good spirits. Maud left a really solid impression on the climbs, climbing with the best of the bunch on the Kemmelberg. Sadly, she and Julia were involved in a crash. Romy and Marthe were the team’s two finishers in the peloton.
“The first 90 kilometres of the race were pretty relaxed because the wind wasn’t a factor yet,” said Marthe. “The race therefore started in earnest on the climbs where Julia, Maud and myself were well-positioned. Then the crashes happened in that first group and we lost Maud and Julia. I felt pretty good today but was also involved in a crash at the end. I had to chase to get back to the bunch but it’s safe to say there wasn’t much left in the legs for the final sprint.”