Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team put two riders in the Pajot Hills Classic top ten on Wednesday. Amy Pieters sprinted in for seventh place, two spots ahead of road world champion Amalie Dideriksen. The pair finished on the same time as race winner Nettie Edmonson (Wiggle High5), part of a 60-strong group that contested the bunch sprint in Gooik.
Following the race, we spoke to Jip van den Bos, who was amongst the last-race attackers to hear her perspective on the mid-week classic.
Q: What was the team’s tactic today? How did the plan compare to reality?
The tactic today was to make the race hard with the whole team. It’s the same plan we had for Gent-Wevelgem. We started with the attacks on the Muur of Geraardsbergen. It forced a breakaway, but everything came back together later in the race.
In the last 30 kilometres, the entire team attacked a lot of times, but unfortunately none of the attacks stayed away. They did make the race harder, which could have been helpful for Amalie in the sprint.
Q: Fans had to follow this race on Twitter. Those who did were aware that there were a lot of splits throughout the race, but names were rarely given. Did Boels-Dolmans always have good numbers?
After Geraardsbergen, there were a lot of groups. The first group of around 20 riders had Christine, Karo and Amy. The second group was me and Amalie. Group three had Kaisa, who raced her first race of the season today. None of the groups lost sight of each other as all the gaps were small. The situation was good for us to have three strong riders in the group of 20.
Q: We put in a lot of late race attacks. Why?
It was the same as the early attacks: we wanted to make the race hard and split the groups. We think everybody on the team is strong, so the harder the better. It’s difficult to say why nothing stayed away. I also don’t really understand that. Maybe the wind was too much on the head. For sure it made the others suffer.
Q: How did the sprint unfold for the team?
We led out Amalie. We were all there and we did well at the start but at some point lost each other.
Q: It’s not the result we wanted but what are the positive points from today?
For the girls who will ride Flanders, this was the perfect preparation and demonstrates that they are really in good shape. The girls who are not riding Flanders can be really happy with their shape as well, and this is shape they will take into other upcoming races.
Every race we come together more cohesively. The result might not show it, but we were impressive as a unit. You can expect more from the orange squad in the coming weeks. We’re all confident that if we continue to ride likes this, results will follow.