Carmen Small Top Ten in Het Nieuwsblad
Carmen Small showed good early form when she placed ninth place in the team’s season opener, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The race is the start of the Spring Classics for the European peloton and the first expedition on cobblestones for the year.
World Champion Elizabeth Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) was dominant, winning the race solo. Her teammate, Chantal Blaak led the chase group across the line with Tiffany Cromwell (Canyon-Sram) rounding out the podium.
Armitstead initially went clear with Orica-AIS’s Gracie Elvin but attacked her inside 20 kilometres. A chase from what was left of the peloton failed to close the gap with the world champion crossing the finish line with a 29 second advantage.
Small sprinted from the reduced group to net a top ten placing in her first race of the season. "I got better as the race went on," she explained after the stage. "It's the first race of the year so your legs aren't ready to go with the surges. As the race went on it was just about making selection after selection as the race got whittled down into a small group of around 20. Lizzie was off the front and teams were chasing so I couldn't really attack. When it came down to the sprint I followed wheels and didn't pick the best wheel to be on but that happens when you're gambling."
Small chose the Cervélo S5 as her bike of choice for the race and said, "I'm super happy with the bike. I love it. It's really responsive which is good and means you need to handle it."
Lotta Lepistö unfortunately crashed on the day. “It meant I had to chase back for a long time and used up too much energy too early. I am ok and tomorrow we are back to racing,” Lepistö said.
The team will line up in Omloop van Het Hageland tomorrow. A live stream of the race will be made available here. The team will start with the same composition of riders as today.
Omloop van Het Hageland - 28 February
Gabrielle Pilote Fortin