Coming the day after Tour of Flanders, there is always a mix of fresh riders from rotated squads, tired legs from the day before and club teams looking to take their opportunity at beating the pros. Dottignies is a good race, that been going for a number of years. Although the course changes most years slightly, its always a slightly rolling big lap with a few feature climbs, and then a flat-ish finishing loop. The climbs seem like drags after the real bergs from the day before, so unless something exceptional happened, we were planning on it being a bunch finish.
It’s only 30km from home, so the team left later that normal. That little more relaxed time at home in the morning helps you feel more alive after yesterdays bone shaking. We had a plan work for Christina should the race come to a bunch sprint. She’s shown good form in recent weeks, taking the bunch sprints in Cholet, Dwaars Door Vlaanderen and Gent Wevelgem. Despite there being breaks ahead of the bunch, we have confidence that Christina can give most riders a run for the money in a bunch sprint.
The race started in pretty cold conditions, but it was dry. Sadly it quickly started to drizzle and the wet weather set in for the day. That, combined with the wide to narrow road transitions coming thick and fast, did nothing for the nervousness of the bunch. It was hard to hold a position and that hindered our work as a team to get together. Mel, having crashed in Flanders had to withdraw from the race after 60km’s, still in pain from her fall on the approach to the Wolvenberg.
With 5 riders going into the finish it just wasn’t meant to be. Despite us having numbers in the finish for the first time this season, we could get up there to carry out a lead out. Christina’s legs weren’t in best condition, so 14th was the result for us. It’s an opportunity missed, but we’ve learnt some lessons, and hopefully we are on the right path to better and better things as the season progresses.
|13||VAN VLEUTEN Annemiek||BCT||+0|
|17||VAN DEN BOS Jip||PHV||+0|