Omloop van het Hageland on Sunday. The German sprinted to ninth place from a 62-rider front group following 129 kilometres of racing.
“It was hard after Omloop yesterday,” said Kasper, who was one of three Boels-Dolmans riders who doubled up over the weekend racing both Saturday and Sunday. “It was a long race with cold and wind. Without a sprinter, we tried to split it, but it didn’t work. We did the best we could without a sprinter.”
Kasia Pawlowska was the team leader on Sunday. Plan A was to put Pawlowska in a small escape group that would stay away to the finish. If a breakaway wasn’t able to evade the bunch, Pawlowska would contest the sprint.
“It wasn’t the plan to sprint for me,” said Kasper. “We were supposed to lead-out Kasia, but it was a hectic chaotic finale with lots of cornering and descents. We didn’t find each other in the finish.”
“I attacked with Megan on the final climb and then we got lost on the downhill,” Pawlowska added. “We were a little bit on our limit. It was two strong attacks.”
Without Pawlowska to contest the dash to the line, Kasper assumed responsibility for the sprint.
“I was the best-placed in the end,” Kasper explained. “Nikki [Harris] was a little in front of me, and she had me on her wheel in the last corner. I tried to fight to the line from there.”
Marta Bastianelli (Alé Cipollini) bested Leah Kirchmann (Liv-Plantur) for top honours. Lotta Lepistö (Cervélo-Bigla) rounded out the podium. Kasper managed ninth place while Harris was four spots further back in 13th.
Harris excelled in her Boels-Dolmans road racing debut. The British cyclocross champion finished in the front group on Sunday and the main chase group on Saturday. It’s clear that she’s carried her form from her most successful cyclocross season to date onto the road with her.
“I’m quite happy with the weekend,” said Harris. “I felt like I could do my job and be in the mix all the time. It’s really nice to be a part of the team and get told what to do and be able to do it.”
“My job was to stay at the front, follow attacks and shut down moves,” said Harris. “I was thrown straight into the deep end this weekend, but I feel like I coped really well.”
Boels-Dolmans is back in action on Wednesday at Le Samyn, a race Chantal Blaak won last year.