photo credit @ Liv Plantur
Floortje Mackaij (Liv-Plantur) won this year’s elite women’s Gent – Wevelgem today, after attacking out of a small lead group during the final 3 kilometers of the race.
Meanwhile, Janneke Ensing (Parkhotel Valkenburg) finished in second place, with Chloe Hosking (Wiggle Honda) rounding out the podium in third.“It is an amazing feeling and coming across the line I couldn’t quite believe that I had won such a race,” said the 19-year-old Mackaij.
Just like the men’s event, the women’s race was plagued by severe crosswinds and rain, that took a heavy toll on the peloton.
“The peloton was already pretty small when we hit the Kemmelberg for the first time,” said Hosking. “It got select over the hills, but it was really the crosswinds that did the damage. I suddenly looked round and there was a group of about 10, and some of the big names weren’t there.”
Today race claimed a few causalities; namely Mackaij’s teammates Claudia Lichtenberg, Willeke Knol and Amy Pieters, who crashed twice at various points in the race. As result, Lichtenberg was forced to abandon, while Knol was simply put out of contention. However, Pieters managed to remount and rejoin the fray.
“With 25-30km to go Amy crashed in the break and was back in the chase with us. We decided to put it in the gutter and after this Amy and I got away — she was so strong today,” said Mackaij.
“We got across to the front and from there we just kept attacking as there were some fast sprinters still there. This was great and with 3km to go I got clear and just went full gas to the line. It was amazing and I still can’t quite believe it.”
After the race, Hosking said, when Mackaij made her move, neither she or Ensing were able to respond.
“I rolled through with about a kilometer to go, and she left me stuck on the front and took me for second place,” said Hosking.
“Finishing third wasn’t fantastic for us because Jolien [D’hoore] really had the legs and would have been able to take the sprint if it had stayed together, but Liv-Plantur had the numbers and played it really well.
“It wasn’t the best, but it’s nice to finish on the podium, and we’re really looking good for the Tour of Flanders next Sunday.”
photo credit @ Gent – Wevelgem
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