The AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step U19 team for Dwars door de Westhoek was only a small group, with Fee Knaven, Nanoi Van Wettere, Luca Vierstraete and Ella Heremans, yet they nevertheless dominated the race from the start. In the end, Fee won ahead of Ella who – as the first Belgian finisher – took the title of Champion of Flanders.
The race did not have an easy start, because the AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step team attacked straight away. All four riders were represented in the first group of nine. The group got smaller until Fee decided to attack alone at 28 kilometres from the line. Luca made a strong counterattack for the Championship title, but was caught. Ella’s attack was successful. She managed to get to Fee in the final and they crossed the line together.
“I’m completely dead now,” Fee laughed after the finish in Boezinge. “We immediately started riding echelons to make it split. It split right away and we kept riding. Then we were left with five, including Ella, Luca and me. I tried to ride away. Probably because I am Dutch, they let me go and I was able to win.”
Ella Heremans, who was second last week at the Belgian championship in Brasschaat, took the Flemish championship jersey in Boezinge.
“It wasn’t a goal right away, but it’s nice to get a jersey,” said Ella. “I’m not much of a sprinter, but sprinting against Anna (Vanderaerden) certainly wouldn’t work, so I attacked. When I joined Fee, I knew that we would both win: me with a Flemish jersey and Fee with the victory. That is good for us as a team.”
Luca finished fourth and Nanoi sixth in the final result.
In France, there were also flowers. It was Mother’s Day there, so Margot Marasco went all out to win the championship of the Grand-Est-Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region and succeeded in her goal.
“It was a nice course with a climb in the middle where I knew the others would attack,” said Margot from Selongey. “Every lap we climbed strongly and riders were dropped each lap. At the end, we were with only ten left after the climb. I almost was dropped, but I gave it all to follow. I could sprint to third place among the elites. It means I was best junior. I’m happy to bring those results for Mother’s Day!”
In the Thüringen Rundfahrt Julia Borgström, Marthe Goossens, Ally Wollaston, Maaike Boogaard, Ilse Pluimers and home rider Romy Kasper were fifth on the opening day team time trial. Sadly, Ally and Maaike had to abandon, leaving four riders to try and beat a dominant Team SD Worx.
“It was a nice week with the girls, but it was a shame we lost Ally and Maaike. They could have made it an even better week and fight for general classification,” Romy said. “We committed to the race every day. On one side we tried to keep our position in the GC and on the other to go for stages. On the decisive day for the GC Julia and I were in the first group. We went for sprints with Marthe, but SD Worx were just too strong. We managed to be in the race and really be part of the action. We did the team colours proud.”
Marthe continued her good streak of results with a 5th, 6th and 8th place in the sprints. Romy rode to a 6th and 9th place on the stages and tenth overall. She raced her 14th Thüringen Rundfahrt which is a special race to her.
“Racing at home is always nice, especially being there with my own team and showing them my home area. It’s great with the German fans and with my parents there too. I was surprised with a top ten in the overall which was my best result in Thüringen ever. My shape is there for Lotto Belgium Tour and the national championships.”