SD Worx completes perfect ‘opening weekend’ with Lorena Wiebes victory at Omloop van het Hageland
The Dutchwoman's sprint victory comes after Lotte Kopecky's solo win at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad the previous day.
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Lorena Wiebes wrapped up a perfect “opening weekend” for the SD Worx squad, kicking to victory Sunday at Omloop van Het Hageland.
Wiebes had already sprinted to second at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad the day before, behind her lone teammate Lotte Kopecky who took the win.
Omloop van het Hageland is a far flatter parcours compared to Saturday’s race, but the tough cobbled sections meant it was not a guaranteed sprint at the end. SD Worx used its strength in numbers to keep the race together for Wiebes as dangerous attacks pinged off the front.
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The chase was fast and just 20 riders made it through to contest the finish with Wiebes besting defending champion Marta Bastianelli (UAE Team Emirates) and French champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot.
“When Floortje [Mackaij – Movistar] attacked, we only had one person in front of the peloton with Femke Markus. She couldn’t get the gap closed alone. Barbara Guarischi, Lonneke Uneken, and Marlen Reusser came to her aid, so we still got the sprint we wanted,” Wiebes said.
“Together they did huge work, but because of the chase, the positions of the leadout train were no longer correct. Fortunately, the girls were able to pull through to the finish, putting me in the perfect position. I am very proud of how strong the team was today. I like to ride to the line with a smaller group, that’s why we made the race hard.”
After a slightly rocky start to the year at the UAE Tour earlier in February, SD Worx looks to be hitting its stride on the return to Europe.
Wiebes and Co. were hopeful of taking away a string of wins at the Middle Eastern race that had three clear-cut chances at a bunch gallop. While she did take one win, she found herself beaten twice by her former leadout rider Charlotte Kool.
The competition wasn’t as strong in Belgium on Sunday but it was another chance to work on its support for Wiebes and SD Worx ultimately delivered a knockout blow.
“One and two in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad was already very special and also in Omloop van het Hageland we shot the main bullet. As a team, we can be happy with this. We can build on this,” Wiebes said.
The team will not be racing at Le Samyn des Dames this Tuesday and it will be back in action at the weekend at Strade Bianche where the team is hoping to defend Kopecky’s title from last year.