Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne for Women (UCI 1.WWT) 158.8km
A race that usually gets dominated by the wind who has free rein in the open plains of the Polders (Belgian country land near the sea and famous for its potatoes)We had to wait until the first passage in *De Moeren* before the race really started. The wind tore the peloton to pieces for the first time, but soon everything came together again, so the second passage in *De Moeren* had to provide fireworks and it did. There was now a gear up and the best women in the race formed an elite group including Jolien D’hoore, Chloe Hosking, and Kirsten Wild. Lotte Kopecky was surprised and ended up in a 2nd group behind the front runners. But with an impressive number of chasing on her own, the Belgian champion stormed to the leading group in one go!! After the passage in *De Moeren* the 13 front runners had a lead of half a minute on a chasing group including Lorena Wiebes and Marta Bastianelli, who had missed the boat. Grace Brown took her chance and took off alone at 10 kilometers from the finish. In no time – and due to much doubt among the pursuers – the 28-year-old Brown kicked together a 20-second bonus. A lead that she would never give up!! The Australian Grace Brown rounded off her solo well and, after a few top places of honor in “Nokere Koerse” and “Omloop Het Nieuwsblad” among others, she booked her first victory of the season. Emma Norsgaard sprinted to 2nd place and Jolien D’hoore completed the podium. Lotte Kopecky ended in 4th place.
Our Irish girls Mia Griffin (was waiting here for her team car here in this photo above due to some technical problem) and Alice Sharp both from the team Rupelcleaning ended up at the wrong side of the echelons and finished in a big group about 6 minutes down…a learning cove for our girls but hey…they competing with more experienced girls in such windy conditions, but already finishing such long races comfortable!!