Melissa Hoskins recorded another top ten finish for ORICA-AIS at Dwars door de Westhoek. Sprinting from a peloton of 114 riders, the track and sprint specialist crossed the line in sixth place. Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv) soloed to a surprise 12” victory over the peloton after having slipped away with ten kilometres to go. Jolien d’Hoore (Lotto Belisol) and Lucy Garner (Giant-Shimano) rounded out the podium.
The West Flanders race featured heavy climbs, including the Motenberg and Kemmelberg, in the first 60 kilometres of racing that repeatedly split and fractured the peloton. During the first half of the race, ORICA-AIS stuck together in prime position at the front of the race to try to whittle down the peloton.
Within the final 15 kilometres of racing, the field was back together and the racing action became extremely aggressive. Small groups would gain a slim advantange only to be brought back by the peloton. Counter-moves would jump to respond, and they, too, would be shut down by the bunch. With ten kilometres to go, van der Breggen struck gold with the race winning move.
Turning their attention to the final two podium places, ORICA-AIS went into leadout mode for Hoskins. Gracie Elvin and Loes Gunnewijk took the first two pulls. Johansson dropped of Hoskins 200 metres from the line.
“The girls did a great leadout for Mel. The last 500 metres to the finish was over rough cobbles, so it was quite technical. Mel gave it a good go, and she came up with sixth place.” - Sport Director Gene Bates