Christine Majerus sprinted to her ninth podium of the road season at the Flanders Diamond Tour on Sunday. The Luxembourgish champion finished second to Jolien d’Hoore (Wiggle High5).
“I’m having a hard time being satisfied with it,” said Majerus. “We raced really hard and everyone gave her all for it. I really wanted to win. I have to admit that Jolien was just stronger than me in the sprint. Glass is half full or half empty, I don’t know yet, but I can be happy with how we raced. We were aggressive. We were the team that took the race on our shoulders. That’s always a good thing."
The 131.1-kilometre race covers one large loop of 30.3-kilometres followed by 7 times around a 14.4-kilometre local lap.
“It’s not really an exciting lap,” noted Majerus. “It’s completely flat. The weather was good, so there was no wind, which made it hard for an escape group with the right riders to get away. Despite that, we wanted to race aggressively to make it at least interesting. And that’s what we did.”
Those following Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team’s tweeting mechanic Richard Steege on Twitter would have seen a constantly changing situation at the front of the race. Thalita de Jong (Rabo-Liv) was the first rider to break away from the bunch, and her catch was immediately followed by a new escape attempt. Then another. And another.
“The whole team – every one of us – went one by one by one with the attacking,” said Majerus. “That was really good.”
Kasia Pawlowska and Ellen van Dijk were part of an eight rider leading group that formed in the large opening loop. When the peloton brought back the group of eight, a new group of ten took shape. Pawlowska again made the move.
“With Jolien in the group of ten, we had to make a decision: do we leave the group away with Kasia in it or do we bring it back?” explained Majerus. “[Sport director] Bram [Sevens] decided that we had more of a chance to win the race with bringing it back.”
Boels-Dolmans took the front and lifted the tempo. Their efforts returned the group to the peloton, ultimately setting the stage for the field sprint.
“In the end – ok, I have to be realistic,” said Majerus. “It’s been six weeks that I haven’t been training my sprint because my training now is going all towards Rio, and I don’t think I have to train my sprint for Rio. Maybe I miss that little top end. That’s not an excuse but maybe an explanation on why I missed something in my kick.”
“We had a good race, and we raced as a team,” Majerus said. “And now we look forward to the next race.”
For Majerus, the next race is the Aviva Women’s Tour where she won a stage and wore the yellow leader’s jersey last year. The five-day British stage race begins on Wednesday.
“We have a really good team for it,” said Majerus. “Everyone is motivated. It’s a really nice race, and it’s a little bit harder this year. I hope we can go for the win every day and for the GC also.”