Challenging day at the Tour of Flanders

The bergs and cobbles combine for a passionate day in the saddle

April 2, 2023

The Tour of Flanders always promises to be an intense day, but it promises nothing more. Our squad had a tough day in Belgium but were sure to support each other as much as possible.

The race was on from the gun. As riders attacked in hopes of establishing a breakaway, the peloton covered the opening hour at 40 kilometers per hour and hardly relented all day. Clara Honsinger and Sara Poidevin covered the early attacks, ensuring that we didn’t miss anything. After climbing the Valkenberg with 65 kilometers to go, Alison Jackson was in a promising move that was caught. Our squad remained active and marked moves, with Alison our top finisher of the day.

“We came in with a plan,” Alison said at the finish. “An early break didn’t quite go but Sara and Clara were pretty attentive to seeing if something was going to happen there. And then mid-race, the Koppenberg was such a mess with the crashes and then when you have to run up and then clip in. We had tried a little bit earlier, after the Valkenberg. I was in a little breakaway and then the counter to that was the one that got away. Then, after that, it was all that we could do to see if we could catch groups.”

When the inevitable crashes on the muddy cobbles and slick climbs caused bottlenecks and held up the field, Zoe Bäckstedt, in her elite Tour of Flanders debut, soldiered on.

“Zoe is such a champion and such a teammate, coming back over and over to keep doing the job because some of the others had crashes. That’s Flanders,” Alison said. “Crowds were great though so no matter what place you’re in, you feel like you’re winning.”

With the week now to rest, recover, and regroup, our squad now looks ahead to Paris-Roubaix in six days’ time.

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