The Dutch from Team DSM showed herself to be the strongest after a bunch sprint and can call herself the unofficial world champion of sprinters in the coming year.
Chiara Consonni, the Italian winner of Dwars door Vlaanderen, came in second. Rachele Barbieri was third on the podium.
The Scheldeprijs has also been known for several years as the sprinter’s race par excellence among women. Wiebes won convincingly last year and was also the absolute top favorite at the start today. Wiebes did not have to take Lotte Kopecky into account. The Belgian still enjoyed her great victory in the Tour of Flanders and qualified for the Scheldeprijs. World champion Elisa Balsamo also missed the Scheldeprijs, so that all eyes were on Wiebes and Team DSM.
The wind made for a pleasant viewing piece. It took a while, but after 40km a leading group was formed. The Canadian Boilard, the Irish Armitage and the British Smith took the rush. The three ladies didn’t get much of a lead, and by the first passage at the finish line on the Churchilllaan in Schoten, with exactly 50 kilometers to go, their maximum lead of two minutes had already shrunk to half a minute.
Still a sprint
Wiebes had set her sights on a second victory in Schoten and put her team in the lead of the pack. Still, it took a while before the trio in the front was caught. With eight kilometers to go, Abi Smith thought it was going too slow in the leading group. The British left her companions and ran off alone. It would mean the death blow for the refugees, because Smith also saw her attempt stranded at five kilometers from the finish. Wiebes wanted and got a sprint. That sprint was disrupted by a heavy crash in the final kilometers.
Wiebes didn’t let it happen to her and was dropped off at the right time by her teammates. The Dutch sprint bomb then started scorching and finished it off nicely. For Wiebes it is the second time in a row that she takes the victory in the Scheldeprijs.
“I am very happy with this win. This course suits me. It’s flat and I really like the cobblestones at the end. It is very special to take the win here two years in a row. We worked very well as a team today and controlled the whole race.”
The sprinters were startled by a crash at the end of the race. “That fall happened right next to me. But luckily our team was in the front, which allowed us to stay upright. In the sprint I was Charlotte’s wheel (Kool, ed.) lost, but I was able to rejoin because she started the sprint early. I was still able to pass her and take the win.”
Kooij sprints to stage victory Circuit Cycliste Sarthe
The Dutchman Olav Kooij has won the second stage of the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe. The 20-year-old rider of Jumbo-Visma led the pack late in the bunch sprint and took the win, ahead of former Danish world champion Mads Pedersen and Lorrenzo Manzin from France. Pedersen was the strongest in the first leg on Tuesday. The Trek-Segafredo rider remains the leader.
It is his fourth victory for Kooij from Numansdorp as prof. Compatriot Bram Welten finished fourth in the stage over 174 kilometers. Friday is the last of four rides.
“I’ve been close to it a few times this year. Then it’s extra nice to type one in now. There are still two days to come which we also want to go full throttle for”, said Kooij, who is now ninth in the general classification. He is half a minute behind Pedersen.
“We agreed on a moment to make our move and that worked out perfectly. Rick Pluimers and Mick van Dijke did a great job, so that I could start the sprint in a good position. Coming out of the last corner I knew I was on the right wheel with Pedersen. The moment I entered I felt I could beat him.”
For Jumbo-Visma it was the ninth victory of the season.