First Podium of the season for Lotta Lepistö
The Cervélo Bigla Pro Cycling Team again enjoyed early season success in Omloop van het Hageland - Tielt-Winge. Finnish national champion Lotta Lepistö came close to victory when she placed third in the Belgian race.
Lepistö benefited from great teamwork by Carmen Small who constantly kept her close to the front in the final 15 kilometres, eventually dropping her off in the front of the peloton with the final kilometre in sight.
With the turn into the finishing straight, Lepistö was second wheel and opened up her sprint only to be caught on the line by race winner Marta Bastianelli (Alé Cipollini) and Leah Kirchmann (Liv-Plantur).
"I was in a really good position coming into the final and just told myself this is why I have been suffering all day and I can make it," Lepistö explained. "I was behind Tiffany Cromwell and she opened the sprint full gas and I could see the finish line. I saw 250 metres to go and decided to go but it was too early. It was two seconds too early but I just had to keep going."
Commenting on the team work of the day, Lepistö said, "I have to mention Clara [Koppenburg] today. She was amazing. Carmen brought me to the front when it really mattered. Before that I was very relaxed and trying to take it easy. We felt less nervous today after yesterday's race and knew the form was there so we rode really well together as a team. Joelle was also in all the moves and made sure we were covered."
The race started off with a gradual pace. With 100 kilometres to go, some crosswinds brought teams to the front to test the possibility of a split. The race split into several pieces but with a change in wind direction, would eventually come back together.
The longest surviving break of the day was when Gracie Elvin (Orica-AIS) and Anouska Koster (Rabo-Liv) got a gap that would grow to just over one minute. They survived until 35 kilometres to go.
With several attacks in the final kilometres, several team were intent on keeping the race together for a sprint.
"It’s a great result for Lotta after a tough day yesterday," team manager, Thomas Campana said. "She’s on good form so this is great for her confidence. The group has been great after three weeks in Mallorca. They are really very professional and hungry for success so we will keep building on this towards the rest of the Spring campaign."
The race concludes a successful opening weekend of racing for the team after Small placed ninth during Omloop Het Nieuwsblad the previous day. Next up on the team’s calendar is the iconic Strade Bianche next weekend.