Slappendel bekämpft Wind und Regen in Wevelgem
Gent-Wevelgem In Flanders Fields turned out to be a treacherous day for the peloton as the race was contested with heavy wind and rain for most of the duration. Iris Slappendel flew the flag for the Bigla Pro Cycling Team, leading the team home in eighth place.
After the race, Slappendel said the conditions were not great but the team still did a great effort in supporting her and Lotta Lepistö.
“I’m disappointed with the end result. We really tried to go for the victory today,” the Dutch national road champion said. “After the second time up the Kemmelberg, Lotta and I were in the break of 20. I didn’t have the best legs so I thought I’d attack to try to do something or to make the group smaller so Lotta could have a better chance. A group of five formed and some riders joined us to make nine. I got cramps in my legs and I was just hanging on. I was alone and the other teams there had two riders so it was hard for me to make a race plan. I decided to gamble and follow Jolien d’Hoore [Wiggle-Honda] and Amy Pieters [Liv-Plantur]. In the end their teammates got the advantage so the gamble didn’t pay off this time.”
In the end it was Flootje Mackaij [Liv-Plantur] who managed to get a gap on the breakaway to win solo with a small advantage over chasers Janneke Ensing [Parkhotel Valkenburg] and Chloe Hosking [Wiggle-Honda] who finished second and third respectively.
When quizzed on how you handle a day on the bike in such treacherous conditions, Slappendel gave an answer that would only surprise those who don’t know her.
“You just have to think it’s the same for everybody. I actually like these conditions while everyone thinks this is terrible so I like to think it gives me a small advantage already. It’s always a big mental game.”
Next weekend the team will continue its spring classic on the cobbles in the Tour of Flanders.
“Next weekend we try again,” Slappendel said.