Fifth for Elvin in Omloop van het Hageland sprintSun 3 Mar 2019
Australian Gracie Elvin claimed fifth place today for Mitchelton-SCOTT in Omloop van het Hageland after a very active and aggressive one-day Belgian Classic.
After a lot of team commitment throughout the race covering moves, the day finally concluded with a reduce bunch sprint won by Marta Bastianelli (Virtu), with Jayco Herald SunTour winner Lucy Kennedy testing her legs on the climbs to also take the mountains prize for the day.
Big opening lap
The race began as always with one large opening lap which included some narrow roads. Australian TT champion Grace Brown jumped away with two others in the opening stages of the race, but with over 100kilometres to go and an attentive peloton, her group was reeled back in before the first main climb of the day.
Another group of riders tried their luck but weren’t given much freedom and by the time the peloton headed over the Roeselberg for the first time on the final local laps, the peloton was all together again.
Attack after attack
Each lap a continuous series of attacks occurred with the team’s all trying to get into moves. Sarah Roy got herself into a move before the third time up the main climb of the local laps, but it was Natalie Koch who then animtad the race and escaped solo and was able to open up a lead of over one minute.
Kennedy continued to work hard each lap, especially over the climb driving the pace, until Koch was finally caught before the fourth time up the climb.
Tough last lap
The final lap was a constant string of attacks, with riders trying to break free before the final ascent of the Roeselberg and finally the peloton withered down significantly, with Elvin the only rider left at the front of the bunch coming into the finish.
On a slight up hill drag, Elvin challenged for her first win in Europe but had to settle for fifth place with European Champion Bastianelli taking the win.
“The last lap was definitely the hardest but I think just because each lap it had been hard on the climb pretty much from the start and the first big lap of the big circuit of the day was pretty solid all day, there was always pressure on the pedels and we had Lucy setting the pace every lap on the climb which was great softening up the legs for everyone and letting me take some chances with attacks most laps and then I just had to make sure I was in the front for the last climb and it really split up then.
“I just had to play the cards as they fell, and I just didn’t quite have in the sprint, I wish I could have been on the podium today but I think with that particular finish and all the stuff I had to do earlier.
“I had good legs yesterday and just had some bad luck, it just happens like that sometimes but I just wanted to have another good race today and test my legs again so I am happy with how I am going and definitely looking forward to the next block.”
Omloop van het Hageland Results:
1. Marta Bastianelli (Virtu)
2. Lotta Lepisto (Trek-Segafredo)
3. Floortje Mackaij (Team Sunweb)
5. Gracie Elvin (Mitchelton-SCOTT)
Photos courtesy of Getty Images