Harriet Owen 10th in Oostduinkerke

It had been many months since I’d been on the start line of a bike race so I was very apprehensive on how I was going to go. I tried not to think about this and just focus on the job in hand, which was getting in some solid race miles to kick off the season.

With half a lap into the 13 lap race, there was a big crash in the middle of the peloton which saw me pulling an endo just to stay upright, luckily I was the chosen one and got back to a solo chase on the bunch. This really put me in the red straight away, so after that I just focussed on staying settled in the peloton to save as much energy as possible. Of course, that isn’t as easy as it sounds as most laps the peloton was lined out in the gutter, which is typical of Belgian racing.

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Coming into the closing laps there was a big chase to catch the solo break which reached about 1.5 minutes, this meant the pace was quite high rather than a stop-start pace which allowed me to recover and get myself ready for a final sprint. I knew that I certainly didn’t have the legs to jump across to the break so I had to wait for the sprint. After a battle and a few elbows with another rider to get on the back of the Lotto Soudal train, I was in the wind a little longer than I would’ve liked to, coming into the finish I didn’t have much left (I couldn’t even get out the saddle!) to give in the final sprint which meant I rolled in 8th in the bunch kick but with two riders ahead of the peloton it meant I was 10th place on the day.

I was quite happy with the way my first race of the season panned out, but so much more to improve on before my big targets later on in the year. Onto next weekend, which is another kermesse in Zwevezele.

RESULT

1         VEKEMANS Anisha                      2H30´00″   LOTTO-SOUDAL LADIES

2          PENTON Sara                                +0´13″         LARES-WAOWDEALS WOMEN CYCLING

3          SIGGAARD Christina                   +0´40″      TEAM BMS BIRN

4          DE VUYST Sofie                                                LOTTO-SOUDAL LADIES

5          WOTSCH Melanie                                              AUTOGLAS WETTEREN CYCLING TEAM

6          VANHOUTTE Fenna                                         LOTTO-SOUDAL LADIES

7          DUTRIAUX Fiona                                               AUTOGLAS WETTEREN CYCLING TEAM

8          VAN GEYT Laura                                               WIELERCLUB DE SPRINTERS MALDEREN

9          PENSAARI Pia                                                   TEAM VELO CYCLING

10        OWEN Harriet                                                   MATRIX FITNESS

55        Rush Isla                                                             MATRIX FITNESS