Kasia Nieuwiadoma showed Sunday afternoon once more her excellent form. Our Polish cyclist finished within the top 10 of the Tour of Flanders, after being caught less than 2 kilometers from the finish with 3 other riders by the chasing group. Coryn Rivera sprinted to victory.
As many women’s races, this version of the Tour of Flanders was very entertaining. Even though there were constant attacks, it did not immediately lead to an early breakaway. Once in the cobles and hilly zones, the peloton got smaller and smaller after each climb. Kasia Niewiadoma attacked on the Kanarieberg, but did not getaway. She did however succeed on the Kruisberg.
Kasia deepened the gap together with Annemiek van Vleuten, Anna van der Breggen and Elisa Longo Borghini. The four gathered a total of 30 seconds. On the Oude Kwaremont, 18 km from the finish, it looked like the leaders would be overtaken, however, they slightly increased their lead. Annemiek van Vleuten was dropped on the Paterberg, the final climb of the day, but she could re-join the 3 others soon after.
The pace of the chasing group was at a constant high in the flat final of the race, decreasing the lead of Kasia and other 3 to 20 seconds. They were finally caught slightly more than 1 km from the finish. A group of 20 women sprinted in Oudenaarde for the highly prized victory. Coryn Rivera was the fastest, Kasia was 8th.
“The team did very well today. They rode a very strong race by dropping Kasia off at the Kanarieberg. We wanted Kasia to try to break away during the climbs which had to happen early on in the race as after the Paterberg, the roads were rather flat. With some additional luck, the group would have been able to hang on until the finish line”, says DS Jeroen Blijlevens.
Jeroen is especially pleased about Yara Kastelijn, WM3’s young rider who participated in her first World Tour race. “Yara demonstrated her progress in a relatively short period of time. Incredible. Do not underestimate the distance (153 kilometers, red.). Last year, she would have had difficulties finishing the race while today she was crucial for the team.”