Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) sprinted to victory in Oudenaarde at the women’s Ronde van Vlaanderen yesterday, taking the team’s second UCI Women’s WorldTour win of the season. In addition, she also became the first American to win the race.
The finale of the race was punctuated with multiple breakaways, forcing Team Sunweb to put in an immense effort in order to bring all moves back. The race looked like it may come down to a battle between a leading group of four, but a terrific chase from the team brought the bunch back together with just one kilometre to the finish.
Rivera was positioned perfectly to launch yet another explosive, unbeatable sprint, beating Gracie Elvin (Orica-Scott) and Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team) into second and third.
“Just to start the women’s Ronde van Vlaanderen is absolutely incredible, it’s such a beautiful race,” said Rivera after the finish. “The team did a brilliant job keeping the leaders safe and in a good position throughout the race. When the going got tough the team animated the race with Rozanne [Slik] taking a lead before the Kanarieberg. Here we showed our intentions to make it a hard race and when the first bunch of 30 exploded on the Kruisberg, we were up there but we couldn’t follow on the climb.”
“The team gave everything on the Kwaremont to get the group back at the wheel and we almost closed it, but in the end we couldn’t follow the four best climbers. From the moment that Hans [Timmermans] made the call to go full gas for me, Ellen [van Dijk] took charge of the pace. The sprint was absolutely thrilling, but I still feel like I am dreaming.”
“Today is a perfect example of how this team can create a plan and make it work no matter what,” said Team Sunweb coach Hans Timmermans. “We missed the power on the hills which makes it even more impressive that we took the win today. All six of our riders did a perfect job today and you need a complete team effort to win Flanders. We are thrilled to take the win at such a prestigious race.”