In the first mass sprint of the Simac Ladies Tour, Lorena Wiebes tried to narrowly beat Elisa Balsamo but did not quite realise her goal. “I just came up short. This only gives me more motivation to go full for the next sprint stage,” said Lorena Wiebes, looking ahead to the time trial in Leuven with ambition. “I’m going to give my best and hope for a good result.”
In Gennep, the sprint train had to come from far away. “There was a lot of chaos in the last three kilometres. We were quite far, but still managed to get to the front at two kilometres from the line. Lotte Kopecky got us to the last corner, but then Lidl-Trek came from behind with a lot of speed. I still tried to push as much as possible for the sprint and came back alongside Elisa. I hoped by throwing my bike I could still take the win, but I just came up short. It was very close. This only provides more motivation to give my best tomorrow in the time trial. In Lelystad there is normally another sprint opportunity. Hopefully there will be a bit more wind and I can win there,” Wiebes said.
Sport director Anna van der Breggen saw that the lead-out did not go as smoothly as planned. “The girls did a good lead-out, but not perfect. In the end we lose by a few centimetres. It’s not fun, but losing is also part of mass sprints. Sometimes it falls your way and sometimes not. That it was so close is a bit sour, but on the other hand, the girls will be extra hungry to execute the next lead-out and sprint perfectly. The sprinters’ field is strongly represented here, which makes it extra difficult to win. Elisa Balsamo rode a strong sprint. She came from behind with a lot of speed. We will learn from our mistakes in this lead-out, discuss what can be done better and try to do better later this week.”
A seven-kilometre time trial is scheduled for tomorrow. “The top favourite is not from our team, but our riders will definitely try to fight for victory,” Van der Breggen said. “After the time trial, we will take stock of how the cards are for the general classification. Seven kilometres is a tough distance for a time trial. Moreover, it is not an easy course. You have to pace well so you don’t blow yourself up too quickly. It is a distance that is doable for most favourites. The real specialists prefer a slightly longer distance, but you have to make do with the course that is available. I think it will be an exciting battle. That the stage takes place in Belgium could be an extra motivation for Lotte Kopecky to make a goal of this time trial.”