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Emma Johansson an attacking third in Dwars door de Westhoek

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Swedish Champion Emma Johansson finished third in an attacking third in the Dwars door de Westhoek in Boezinge, West Flanders, in a finish that saw multiple World Champion Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) crash spectacularly into the roadside barriers. The race was won by Luxembourg Champion Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans), ahead of Italian Champion Elena Cecchini (Canyon-SRAM), with Johansson completing the all-national-champion podium.

“I was pretty on the limit for the sprint, but I thought I needed to be up there and do as well as I can,” Johansson said. “To finish it off and hopefully I can still make a good result. Because of that awful crash of Marianne I made the podium… it’s never nice to make a podium because of that, but I think everyone was just on the limit at the end.”

The 127km race, run under wet and cold conditions, saw the peloton quickly split into several parts. Three climbs of the Rodeberg also proved selective, and Johansson found herself at the front of the race with most of the peloton’s big names.

“I’ve been very tired all week, I wasn’t really sure as I’ve been a bit cough-ie since Spain,” the Swedish Champion explained. “So I’ve just been having an easy week and I didn’t know how I was going to feel on the bike.

“But I had a really good feeling the whole race today, and we made the first split with me, Chloe [Hosking] and Gio [Bronzini], which was really good to be with the three of us. Then the last time up the Rodeberg we got away with about 12 riders, but I was on my own, which wasn’t really perfect because Rabo still had all their riders there I think. The group cam back with Gio and Chloe in the three final laps we did, but then it was just aggressive racing from Rabo. Because I was feeling so good as well I just wanted to make sure I was going to be in the splits that happened again. And I made that group again, so that was really good.

“I had a really god crack in the last 4km, when I got away in a good group of four with Thalia and Demi de Jong [Rabo-Liv and Boels-Dolmans] and one more,” Johansson added. “Then I counterattacked that group and that put Rabobank on the back foot, which was maybe the best move that I had today. But then it came back with 2km to go, and it was in for the sprint.”

The sprint proved more complicated than expected, however, as Vos lost control of her bike on the cobbled surface and – as she struggled to stay upright – collided with one of the protruding legs of the roadside crowd barrier. Majerus, who was alongside the former World Champion at the time, carried on to win, while the rest crossed the line safely behind her.

1. Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans)
2. Elena Cecchini (Canyon-SRAM)
3. Emma Johansson (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)

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