Christine Majerus rounded out the podium in Borsele on Saturday, sprinting to third place behind Barbara Guarischi (CANYON//SRAM) and Floortje Mackaij (Liv-Plantur). The Luxembourg champion was part of a 20-rider leading group contending for the top step of thepodium following a wind-swept 136.8-kilometre day.
“I’m slightly disappointed because we were really trying hard the whole day,” said Majerus. “It would have been nice to have an even better result.”
“Tomorrow I will probably be satisfied with third place and how aggressively we were riding,” she added. “I did a good time trial yesterday, too, so I think I can be happy with my two races here.”
Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team staged in Borsele determined to split the peloton in the winds.
“We tried and tried, but it didn’t really happen,” said Majerus. “The race would split, but it would all come back together on the big roads with the headwind. It was a bit discouraging because we were the whole day in the wind without necessarily achieving the outcome we wanted. The good thing was that we always had numbers, and we were always riding as a group.”
“Having numbers” is an understatement. When the peloton split on the first of four 24-kilometre laps around Borsele, all six Boels-Dolmans riders made the selection of around 40. As the size of the front group swelled and shrunk over the ensuing kilometres, Boels-Dolmans remained heavily represented in each iteration of the leading group.
The four large laps were followed by four times around the 9.9-kilometre local circuit. In the penultimate local lap, a crash decimated the front group of 28.
“From the four of us that were still in the front group at that moment, I was the only one not involved in the crash,” Majerus said. “Chantal [Blaak] and Ellen [van Dijk] had to chase hard to come back, and Romy had to stop the race. I was a bit isolated at that moment.”
“When they came back, I covered as many attacks as possible,” Majerus added. “I wanted to allow them to recover a bit before the last lap.”
The strategy proved successful. Van Dijk and Blaak recovered sufficiently to go on the offensive. Van Dijk attacked just inside the final five-kilometres. When she was caught, Blaak jumped up the road, taking Elena Cecchini (CANYON//SRAM) and Lucinda Brand (Rabo Liv) with her.
“Chantal’s move of three was a good one,” said Majerus. “Unfortunately it didn’t stick.”
Despite the late race attempt to escape, Blaak had enough energy left to set up Majerus up for the sprint.
“She gave me a lead-out,” said Majerus. “It was all straight back wind at high speeds. I have to admit that I lacked a little bit of power in the sprint after a long day in the front, so with the high speed in the finish, I was a bit limited.”
Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team races Dwars door de Westhoek on Sunday. Majerus will be joined by Karol-Ann Canuel, Demi de Jong, Amalie Dideriksen Romy Kasper and Kasia Pawlowska on the start line in Boezinge.