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by Sean Robinson
March 30, 2015
Photography by Sean Robinson
WOMEN'S CYCLING BROUGHT TO YOU BY ORBEA
We spent the weekend in Cittiglio for the second round of the World Cup won by Lizzie Armitstead in a six-up sprint. While we enjoyed the sunshine, Sean Robinson of Velofocus stood sideline at a wet and windy Gent Wevelgem where Floortje Mackaij soloed across the line to snag the best result of her very young career.
Sean has generously agreed to collaborate with Ella CyclingTips in a content swap this weekend. His race report out of Belgium is below or as originally published here, and you’ll find our report out of Italy over on Velofocus. We love what Sean does, and we’re happy to have the opportunity to share that with you in this space.
Floortje Mackaij escaped in the final three kilometres to win the women’s edition of Gent-Wevelgem in treacherous conditions. The Liv-Plantur rider crossed the line with a seven second margin over Janneke Ensing (Parkhotel Valkenburg) and Chloe Hosking (Wiggle Honda), who finished second and third respectively.
One of the rising stars of Dutch cycling, Mackaij has just begun her second full season racing at the top level. She’s become known for her aggressive racing style and already has a string of national level victories from her short racing career. Gent-Wevelgem is by far her biggest win to date.
“We [Amy Pieters and I] got across to the front and from we just kept attacking,” explained Mackaji. “There were some fast sprinters still there. With three kilometres to go, I got clear and just went full gas to the line. It was amazing, and I still can’t quite believe it.
Two times over the Kemmelberg and Monteberg were the main obstacles laid out by the race organisers, but the riders woke up on race day and were presented with a far bigger challenge. Driving rain and gusting gale force winds made it an achievement just to stay upright, never mind race.
A group of nine lead as the race closed in on Wevelgem including Wiggle Honda sprint duo Jolien d’Hoore, winner of Ronde van Drenthe, and Chloe Hosking. If the others wanted to win they couldn’t take these two to the finish line. The attacks began, and combined with the strong winds, gaps began to open up, eventually allowing Mackaij to break clear and build her slender race winning lead.