Vos triumphs in anniversary edition
The wait was long before the 10th edition of Gent-Wevelgem for women really started. The race finally developed at the second climb of the Kemmelberg. It was Trek-Segafredo that pulled out all the stops deep into the finale. The Italian Longo Borghini went even further and got her compatriot Paladin to join her. Just in sight of the line they were caught by the peloton again. Dutch rider Vos sprinted to victory ahead of Kopecky and Brennauer.
At 14:25 the start sign was given for the women under the Menin Gate in Ypres. Early on in the race some riders tried to get away, but the peloton did not let them. After the first attack attempts, it was waiting for spectacle. The peloton broke into two at the first climb of the Kemmelberg, where Jolien D'hoore was lingering at the back, but that situation was also rectified.
At the second passage on the Kemmelberg, Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) shook the tree. The Italian rode away together with Polish rider Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM Racing). Behind them, a group of five was formed: Belgian champion Kopecky (Liv Racing), Pieters (SD Worx), Cavalli (FDJ Nouvelle - Aquitaine Futuroscope), Van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo) and Vos (Jumbo-Visma Women Team). Jolien D'hoore had to let go again on the Kemmelberg, just like on the first climb.
An acceleration of Vos allowed the 5 chasers to catch up. We got a front group of seven, but there was no cooperation. A complete regrouping with the peloton quickly ensued and everything was had to start from scratch. At about 28 km from the finish Henderson (Jumbo-Visma Women Team) went off alone.
The solo of the British rider did not last long. At about 20 km from the finish the women of Trek-Segafredo started breathing in her neck. Deignan, Longo Borghini and Van Dijk joined forces, set up an echelon and ensured that a group of 8 could separate. Belgian champion Kopecky, Dutch rider Vos and Italian rider Bastianelli, among others, missed out. Henderson was just able to pick up her train at the back of the first group.
Not much further, Longo Borghini made it even worse. The Italian accelerated and only her compatriot Paladin (Liv Racing) joined the attack. Behind the leading duo, there was a regrouping and it took some time before everyone started cooperating. In the end it was Team BikeExchange, SD Worx and Canyon//SRAM Racing who joined forces.
The seconds ticked away slowly. At the front Longo Borghini had to work almost alone because her compatriot's lead was fading. With one kilometre to go they only had a handful of seconds left. Longo Borghini and Paladin were caught within sight of the line. In the bunched peloton, it was the Dutch Marianne Vos who had the fastest legs. She took the victory in this anniversary edition ahead of Kopecky and Brennauer.