|Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Emily Collins won the sprints classification at the Le Samyn des Dames race, the first round of the Lotto Cycling Cup, in the town of Dour in southern Belgium. The 119.2km race, run on the same day and the same course as the elite men’s version, was made up of a 38.8km loop, followed by four laps of a 20.1km circuit. Each lap was to feature the climbs of the cobbled Côte de la Roquette, and the Côte d’Audregnies.
“There was a sprint on the first, second, and third times through the finish, and Emily won the first two,” Wiggle Honda directeur sportif Simon Cope explained. “The third one was take by the breakaway, but none of them were any danger, and so she took the competition.”
With winter still lingering on in Belgium, the race was ridden in temperatures similar to those experienced in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad the previous Saturday, with misty conditions making it feel even colder.
The race was won by Ellen van Dijk (Specialized-lululemon) in a solo break after she escaped the front group with a lap and a half to go. The Dutch time trial specialist managed to hold off a chase group of three riders, with Shelley Olds (Tibco-To The Top) beating Swedish champion Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products) in the race for second.
Collins sprinted into tenth place at the finish, one place ahead of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling teammate, former World champion Giorgia Bronzini in eleventh.
“It was a hard race,” said Cope. “Every lap groups were going off the back. In the end the break went, and the lead kept on growing, so eventually the peloton stopped working. Unfortunately Beatrice [Bartelloni] crashed early on; she tried to continue, but she banged her head and hurt her shoulder, so she had to abandon.”
Bartelloni and Bronzini (pictured below) had just rejoined the team after representing Italy at the World Track Championships in Minsk, Belarus.
“It’s a shame, because Beatrice said she had good legs,” said Cope, “but Giorgia also said she had good legs, so that’s a positive.
“It takes time for a team to gel, but it is gelling,” he added. “It’s another positive performance.”
10. Emily Collins