Defending European road champion Marta Bastianelli won Sunday’s Omloop van het Hageland in Belgium. The Italian rider sprinted to the win from a diminished peloton, crossing the line ahead of Lotta Lepisto (Trek-Segafredo) and Canadian Leah Kirchmann (Sunweb).
The victory brought Bastianelli and her Team Virtu Cycling their first victory of the 2019 season.
The win came after a day of frustration for Bastianelli, who said she changed bicycles three times during the 131km event.
“A day that seemed to have started badly. I changed three bikes, in a hard race and with legs that were asking for mercy from yesterday,” the Italian wrote on Instagram. “But I could not betray the work of a great team that supported me today all day!”
The victory came a day after Bastianelli finished second at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, winning the field sprint more than a minute after winner Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) crossed the line.
The Omloop van het Hageland race was held in West Flanders, starting in the town of Tienen, before completing a series of loops and finishing in Winge. The route tackled the steep Roeselberg climb four times.
The victory marks a season-opening confidence boost as Bastianelli heads into the classics season. The Italian is a talented one-day racer who excels at classics and sprint events. Last year Bastianelli had an impressive March, winning Brabantese Pijl and Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields. She last won the Omloop van het Hageland race in 2016.