Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) took the win on a fast, dry day of racing at Tabor. The Dutchwoman capitalized on a fall from world champion Sanne Cant (Corendeon-Circus) in the final lap to gap the lead group, powering home in 40:09.
“It was very hard,” said Brand. “I know very well what I’m capable of, knowing where to ride hard and where I should save energy. On a lap like this one I can bank on my stamina to do well.”
A slip and crash on the start line set the tone for the day’s racing. Over 20 riders were caught up in the initial seconds, with Evie Richards amongst those delayed. This allowed five riders to take advantage, with Eva Lechner (Creafin-Tüv Süd), Ellen Van Loy (Telenet-Fidea Lions), Annemarie Worst (Steyalerts-777), Maud Kaptheijns (Crelan-Charles), and Cant going clear.
Despite being a dry, sunny day, there were several greasy, icy section in shaded parts of the course, including one bank that caught riders out all day, many of whom appeared to have chosen shoes with insufficient grip. The carnage commenced on lap one, with a large group in the field getting caught up in a bottleneck of riders struggling to gain traction.
The leaders stayed together through lap two and the start of lap three, with Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado (Corendeon-Circus) bridging across to them. However, on the third lap, Kaptheijns was caught out on the slippery bank, losing contact with the leaders. Worst attacked to take a 10-second lead for half a lap, before being reeled in.
By lap four, Brand had bridged to the front group, making a lead septet with Van Loy, Alice Arzuffi (Steyalerts-777), Denisa Betsema (Marlux-Bingoal), Alvarado, Cant, and Worst. The group swapped leads several times through lap four and the start of lap five, with Katie Compton (KFC Racing), Katerina Nash (Clif Pro Team), and Kaptheijns leading a chase group behind.
The winning move was made on lap five when Cant slipped on the same bank that had been troubling riders throughout the day. The slip disrupted the group’s rhythm, with only Brand being untroubled, allowing her to go clear. She soon took a two-second advantage, with Wurst chasing hard, and Arzuffi on her wheel. Cant was by now 14 seconds off the lead, and seven seconds behind the rest of the chasers.
Brand continued to grow her lead through the rest of the lap, crossing the line with a five-second advantage, with Worst and Arzuffi filling out the podium.
“I figured it would pile-up and I decided to run”, Cant said about the slippy climb that dropped her from the leaders. “It was icy and I didn’t manage to reach the top. It was disappointing because I felt like I was in control of the race.”