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Jolien D’hoore Wins Bunch Sprint for Second in Dwars door de Westhoek

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Jolien D’hoore won the bunch sprint for second place in the Dwars door de Westhoek, in Boezinge, near Ypres in West Flanders. The Belgian Champion beat Australian Tiffany Cromwell (Velocio-SRAM) and Kirsten Wild (Hitec Products) on the cobbled finishing straight, 30 seconds behind Cromwell’s teammate Elise Delzenne, who had escaped midway through the 135km race.

“It was a strange race,” D’hoore said. “Everybody was waiting, and waiting for a bunch sprint. But then one girl got away.

“We saw that she had two minutes, then one minute thirty, but we said that it was not our job to close the gap,” the Belgian Champion explained. “There were more top favourites from the other teams, and we wouldn’t work as the only team to close the gap so that the other teams could benefit from us. We thought it was better for us to become second like this than to become second if it was a bunch sprint and the others could benefit from our work.”

The race was made up of an opening 88km that included four circuits based on the Rodeberg climb, followed by four flat, 11.8km laps of Boezinge. The peloton split several times on the rainy parcours, but reformed each time. When Delzenne attacked with 44km to go, however, the French rider was allowed to escape.

“Everybody was looking at us, to see if we wanted to chase. But Kirsten Wild was also there, and her team wasn’t doing anything. If the girl’s still in front with a few k’s to go, then she deserves the win.

“We took a risk, and we came second so it’s not that bad,” she added. “Velocio was doing the sprint after Elise, for Cromwell, and she really wanted to get the second place!”

D’hoore’s second place draws her Spring campaign to a close, with the Belgian Champion having been racing almost constantly – on track and road – for almost a year. The 25-year-old will now take some time off, before returning in mid-June as she builds up to the defence of her black, yellow and red jersey.

“I had a break last year in May, and then I did the second half of the road season, and then immediately went to the track,” D’hoore explained. “In December I had one week off the bike – but what’s one week! Then, after the track I did the road again, so I’ve been pretty busy!”

Although busy, D’hoore’s Spring has been the most successful of her career to date, and has included her first ever World Cup victory in the Ronde van Drenthe – on her 25th birthday – as well as second place in the Tour of Flanders, behind Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling teammate Elisa Longo Borghini.

“It’s quite amazing, I had a few good races,” D’hoore said modestly. “Also thanks to the team, of course! Also today everyone did a really good job!”

Along with second place for D’hoore, great news for Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling saw Olympic Champion Dani King return to the international peloton this weekend for the first time since the 24-year-old’s horrific crash in November last year.

1. Elise Delzenne (Velocio-SRAM)
2. Jolien D’hoore (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
3. Tiffany Cromwell (Velocio-SRAM)


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