“I am very happy with this win today. After a win in the Vuelta last year, this is one of the biggest victories for me,” Persico said. “Demi was really strong and I chose to stay on her wheel. I know here with this wind you can win in the last 30 to 40 meters, and that’s why I stayed on her wheel. This is a big win for me with this first victory for my new team.
“SD Worx was really strong and I knew I had to follow them,” she said. “In my head I wanted to win today. After Flanders when I was fourth I was not happy, and I wanted to take this victory for my team. I want to say thank you to all the team.”
SD Worx put two riders into the seven-rider leading group after a gripping final lap, with defending champion Vollering and Gent-Wevelgem winner Marlen Reusser in the pole position.
The pair exchanged tactical plans with about 5km to go, and Reusser was the first to jump at 4.5km to go. Shirin Van Anrooij (Trek-Segafredo) countered as a chase group led by Jayco-AlUla was breathing down their necks with just 20 seconds at 3km to go.
With the break in danger of being caught, Reusser went to the front to drive the wedge to the line. The leaders hit the red kite with a slender 15-second lead on the final climb to the line.
Reusser led out the sprint, and Vollering jumped, but the Italian had the legs to hold out for victory.
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SD Worx swarmed the front every time someone tried to pull clear in the mid-week Belgian classic. Kristen Faulkner (Jayco-AlUla) tried a late move with 30km to go, but Mischa Bredewold (SD Worx) was all over it.
Rain and heavy crosswinds pelted the peloton in the final lap. The attrition of the pace saw the lead group reduced to about 25 riders.
Mavi Garcia accelerated with 20km to go stretch the lead group out. Gent-Wevelgem winner Marlen Reusser (SD Worx) kept the pressure high ahead of the closing string of climbs.
Reusser split the group with 16km to go, with Shirin Van Anrooij (Trek-Segafredo), Elise Chabbey (Canyon-SRAM), and Silvia Persico (UAE Team ADQ) following the surge. The leaders carved out a 25-second lead with 13km to go.
Trek-Segafredo and SD Worx had numbers in the chase group with 10km to go. Vollering jumped out of the chase group on the Moskesstraat (0.5km à 6.9%), with Liane Lippert (Movistar) and Margot Vanpachtenbeke (Parkhotel Valkenburg) hitching a ride.
They bridged across with 6km to go after coming over the final hard climb to give SD Worx the numerical advantage. The leaders held a lead of 20 seconds to a chasing group to battle for the spoils.
WWT racing continues this weekend with the 9th Amstel Gold Race Ladies Edition on Sunday.