Podium finish for Jolien D’hoore in Omloop van het Hageland

Sun 25 Feb 2018

Belgian champion Jolien D’hoore sprinted to third place in the second race of the ‘Belgian opening weekend’, Omloop van het Hageland

After an action packed final, raced around six laps of a 13kilometre circuit, Ellen Van Dijk (Team Sunweb) made a well timed late solo attack with seven kilometres to go and was able to hold on to take the race victory.

Unsettled peloton

With a mixture of tired legs in the peloton after yesterday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and new fresh riders starting their first race of the weekend, the peloton was continuously splitting.

Eventually the race regrouped and the main move of the day came from two riders who opened up a one minute 30second advantage over the peloton. Riders tried to bridge across and as they entered the final finishing circuits with 40kilometres to go, a group of ten riders, including Jess Allen for Mitchelton-SCOTT jumped ahead of the bunch and began to chase down the leaders.

A late breakaway attempt from Spratt

Finally the catch was made the bunch split once again and an immediate counter attack of six riders saw Amanda Spratt once again in a late breakaway alongside five other riders. The group hovered around 30seconds ahead but weren’t given much freedom and as they headed closer to the final climb of the race, with around eight kilometres to go, they were swallowed up by the chasing peloton.

Sprint for second

After testing her legs yesterday in her debut race for the team, last year’s winner D’Hoore was left to challenge for second place, after Van Dijk claimed the victory ahead. In a battle all the way to the line, neck and neck with Chloe Hosking (Ale-Cipollini) a photo finish decided D’hoore made it on to the podium with third place.

Jolien D’hoore - 3rd place finisher

"The race was on from the start. A lot of teams wanted to make the race hard and didn’t want a sprint. So there were a lot of attacks throughout the whole race. We needed to be alert and go in every move, which the girls did. They were so strong again and worked so hard to be in every important move."

"In the end there was one rider stronger then the whole bunch, Ellen van Dijk. She got away the last five kilometres on the hill. Fair play to her and I got 3rd in a close finish."

"We really raced as a team. We were always together, taking care of each other, backing each other up. It was such a nice feeling and I felt really supported by my teammates."
"I felt strong. A lot better already then yesterday. It’s only the first weekend back into racing, so it’s still early to be in top shape. But I’m really confident for the rest of the season. The best is yet to come."

Amanda Spratt

"The plan today was to go for Jolien for the sprint, we made one mistake about half-way through when a break of ten went away and we only had Jess there. Georgia Williams and I had to do a lot of work to bring that back so we didn’t want to be in that situation again.

"After that we made sure we were covering all the moves so Jolien could save her legs for the final. I was following a lot of moves and found myself in the break of six coming into the final lap. It was a good scenario to have me in there as it forced other teams to chase and gave us a free ride in the peloton. If it stayed away I was confident I could make a good result but the plan 'A' was definitely for Jolien."

"When Van Dijk went we had Georgia cover that and she did a super job to stay with her but just popped near the top of the climb. We organised quickly and tried to close the gap but Van Dijk was too strong."

"It was a very aggressive and hard race. The winds made it harder on the big lap with crosswind action and once we entered the local laps the attacks started quickly. I actually felt good even after racing yesterday. The form is probably better than I expected for this time of the year so it’s been a really good first weekend of racing for me."

Omloop van het Hageland results:

1. Ellen Van Dijk (Team Sunweb)
2. Jolien D’hoore (Mitchelton-SCOTT)
3. Chloe Hosking (Ale Cipollini)

Photo courtesy of Getty Images