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Jolien D’hoore sprints to win the opening stage of the Boels Rentals Ladies Tour

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Jolien D’hoore won her second race in nine days as she eased ahead of the rest of the peloton at the end of the opening stage of the Boels Rentals Ladies Tour, between Zeddam and ’s-Heerenberg. The Belgian Champion crossed the line more than a length clear of young British sprinter Lucy Garner (Liv-Plantur) at the end of the uphill finishing straight, with Netherlands Champion Lucinda Brand just behind in third.

A ten-second time bonus on the line saw D’hoore takes the first Race Leader’s orange Jersey of the race.

“It was quite a hectic day,” D’hoore said afterwards. “There was a big crash, after 20-25km, so the bunch was reduced to about 30 riders. But everything came back together again and it was a bunch sprint.

“There were two hills in the final lap, and we did three laps, so it was not totally flat!” she added.

The 111km stage was raced under variable weather conditions, with initial overcast skies turning to heavy rain and hail showers midway through. Despite a number of crashes, all of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s riders managed to stay upright throughout.

There were some late attacks, with Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Nettie Edmondson and Elisa Longo Borghini joining late counter-moves, but the peloton reformed on the approach to the slightly uphill finish.

“Dutch racing is never easy,” D’hoore explained. “You always have to be focused, and concentrated the whole race because of crashes and everything. But it was okay, it was a good day to start with!”

The Boels Rentals Tour is D’hoore’s first race since her victory in the Crescent Vårgårda World Cup, in Sweden, on the 23rd of August. Despite having taken the lead on the World Cup classification, the Belgian Champion elected to sit out the final round in Plouay, France, on Saturday to focus on her World Championship preparation at home in Belgium.

“In the end I think it was a good decision,” she smiled. “I did some good training last week, and it was the last week I could do it, so I took advantage of it. Then I’m going to use this week again, as some good training in the races, and that should be perfect preparation for Richmond I hope.”

1. Jolien D’hoore (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)

2. Lucy Garner (Liv-Plantur)
3. Lucinda Brand (Rabo-Liv)


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