Christine Majerus was the best finisher for Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team at Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik on Sunday. The Luxembourgish champion sprinted to ninth place in the bunch for 13th on the day. Marianne Vos (WM3 Energie) won a four-up sprint to take her third victory in Gooik.
“Obviously it’s not the result we wanted,” said Majerus. “We all did our best, but we had some trouble coping with the conditions. It was the first really hot day of the season, and for some reason, most of us had trouble with the heat.”
The race unfolded fairly predictably with two non-threatening breaks getting space in the opening kilometres. Esther Van Veen (Parkhotel Valkenburg - Destil) and Sarah Borremans (Autoglas Wetteren) started Muur de Geraardsbergen with more than a minute advantage over the peloton.
The bunch split up the Muur and four riders - Sunweb’s Ellen van Dijk and Lucinda Brand, Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5) and Marianne Vos (WM3 Energie) – bridged across the early breakaway. At the mid-point of the race, the six had a gap of around 45 seconds.
“We took our responsibility,” said Majerus. “We chased with ORICA. We got the group back on the local laps.”
Fresh attacks countered the catch. Yara Kastelijn (WM3 Pro Cycling) and Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Lensworld-Kuota) were the first of the late attackers to stretch their advantage. Five kilometres from the finish, Longo Borghini and Van Dijk caught the leading duo. Kastelijn was unable to match the new tempo and fell back as Vos bridged across to the newly formed trio ahead.
“We really did try to get them back,” said Majerus. “You saw us chasing, and you saw each of us falling off the pace one-by-one. In the end, it was only me and Jip [van den Bos] left.”
“The positive I can take away is the same I always take away – the teamwork and the team spirit,” said Majerus. “We hoped for a better result today, but without one, we’re not worried about our fitness. It wasn’t the legs. It was the heat."