Dutchwoman Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) soloed to victory in the 12th edition of the women's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in Belgium on Saturday.

Dutchwoman Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) soloed to victory in the 12th edition of the women’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (UCI 1.1) in Gent, Belgium on Saturday. After racing 122km, the 27-year-old two-time national champion crossed the line 15 seconds over a handful of riders, including compatriots Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) and Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott) to make an all-Dutch podium.

Brand’s Sunweb teammate Ellen van Dijk finished fourth on the same time as Blaak and van Vleuten, as did fifth-place finisher Elisa Longo Borghini (Orica-Scott).

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Things heated up with a crash atop the Paterberg at the front of the field that took down several riders and forced other to run their bikes up the climb. Ellen van Dijk (Sunweb) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5) escaped as the field pulled itself back together.

With the two experienced riders out front, van Vleuten pushed the pace of the main field over the Molenberg, paring down the field to a select group of 15-20 riders. Blaak charged the Paaastraat, reducing the chase group even further to just five riders.

Four of those chasers would make contact with the two leaders with 10km to go. Brand had the freshest legs at the end of the day — benefitting from teammate van Dijk’s earlier escape up the road. In the final kilometers, Brand laid down attack after attack until, on the third try, she broke free and crossed the line 15 seconds up on the small group. Blaak won the sprint for second with van Vleuten edging out van Dijk for third.

“It was a really good day,” said Brand. “The team were great and supporting me really well by keeping me out of the headwind. The girls kept me in a great position, and we were in a perfect situation with Ellen [van Dijk] up the road and good support behind. They helped me to maintain a good position ahead of the cobbles and climbs, so I didn’t have to do anything which was great.”

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