Sophie De Vuyst (Parkhotel Valkenburg) sprinted to the first major victory of her professional career Wednesday in Brabantse Pijl.
The Belgian won the 136.7km race around Gooik, Belgium ahead of Marta Cavalli (Valcar-Cylance). American Coryn Rivera (Sunweb) was third, showing improving form after a crash took her out of Tour of Flanders 10 days ago.
With six climbs in the first 50 kilometers of the course, racing began in an aggressive fashion.
After the early breakaway moves were caught, a significant group of 12 riders went clear, including Rivera. With about 65 kilometers to go, they were one minute ahead of the peloton.
By the last of the three finish circuits, the leaders remained about 35 seconds up the road with 19km to go.
They managed to hold off the bunch. Although a few late attacks strung out the lead group, it came down to a sprint, which De Vuyst won by about a bike-length.
“In the end, I knew that someone would try to attack and so it was. Then I also tested my legs when I saw a small gap behind, but it didn’t go,” said Astana’s Elena Pirrone, who ended up fourth. “In the sprint, I was very well placed, but the finish was slightly uphill and I was a bit [boxed-in].”