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Jolien D’hoore takes first victory of 2015 in Omloop van het Hageland

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Jolien D’hoore took the team’s first victory of 2015 – and her first ever for the black and orange team – in the Omloop van hat Hageland, in Tielt-Winge, to the east of Brussels, with a dominant sprint over a group of eleven riders. The Belgian champion had plenty of time to sit up and show her black, yellow and red driekleur jersey as she crossed the line several lengths clear of Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) in second place, with Sara Mustonen (Liv-Plantur) just behind the Dutch rider in third.

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Chloe Hosking finished just behind D’hoore in ninth place, having travelled overnight from yesterday’s Strade Bianche to dictate much of the race on behalf of her Belgian teammate.

“I didn’t expect to get my first win so soon!” D’hoore said. “My first race in the Omloop [Het Nieuwsblad] was not so good, but then Wednesday was a lot better and today I felt really good. I’m happy with my shape at the moment, and I’m really happy to get this win for the team – the first win for the team.

“Yesterday Chloe did the Strade Bianche, and she rode about 13 hours in the car to get here!” D’hoore exclaimed. “She didn’t know how she was going today, but she was really strong!

“She did the perfect lead out for the sprint, so it was really incredible, and I’m really thankful to have her as a teammate.”

The 120km race, which saw Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s first ever victory in 2013 – through New Zealander Emily Collins – was made up of a 53.1km opening loop followed by five laps of 13.4km circuit, featuring the climb of the Roeselberg halfway round each lap. Hosking led D’hoore over the top of the cobbled Kerkstraat climb, after 49km, with the broken field strung out behind them, to set the tone for much of the latter part of the race.

“This was the third time I’ve done this race,” D’hoore explained. “The course suits me; it’s up and down. It doesn’t look very hard on paper, but when you do it, in the final you feel every climb. So that’s what makes it hard.

“There was a cobbled climb, and Chloe was in first position and I was in second,” she added. “Chloe went so fast that we had a gap, and we were only two, so I had to tell her to slow down because there were still 70km to go!”

The was a lone attack from Team USA rider Heather Fischer at the end of the first local lap, and the American was able to get almost a minute clear. She was gradually closed down, however, and caught with two laps to go; shortly before the decisive move of the race was to take place.

On the climb of the Roeselberg on that penultimate lap, the eleven-rider group pulled clear, with Hosking and D’hoore present. There were enough quality riders in the group – as well as most of the strong teams represented – to be able to open up a decisive gap.

“Evelyn Stevens of Boels attacked, and Amy Pieters [Liv-Plantur] went with her, then everybody came and the eleven strongest girls of the race were there,” said D’hoore. “I was pleased that we were in a breakaway, because it was much safer. Today was really dangerous in the bunch.”

Coming into the finish, Belgian Champion D’hoore was the outstanding favourite for victory, but with riders like Blaak present – who won Wednesday’s Le Samyn race – as well as fast sprinters like Team USA’s Coryn Rivera, she could take nothing for granted.

“I took the wheel of Chantal Blaak, because she won on Wednesday, so I knew she was pretty fast,” said D’hoore. “But then I saw the Chloe in front, and I said ‘yeah, maybe I’ll take the wheel of Chloe.’

“So I took Chloe’s wheel, and I screamed to her ‘let’s do it!’ and she did a lead out and it was perfect. Apparently I had a few lengths in front of Chantal Blaak; I didn’t know, I saw it on the photos and it looked good!”

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

2. Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans)
3. Sara Mustonen (Liv-Plantur)

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