Report: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
The opening of the European calendar took place on Saturday during Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The Bigla Pro Cycling Team narrowly missed out on a top ten when South African National Champion Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio finished 11th. Anna van der Breggen (Rabobank-Liv) won the race after contesting the sprint with breakaway partner Ellen van Dyke (Boels-Dolmans). Moolman-Pasio was part of the group which came to the finish fourteen seconds later and sprinted for third.
After the race she said many positives could be taken from the team's performance despite some bad luck early on. She also made special mention of Lisa Klein’s performance after her debut in the professional ranks. After doing a sterling job for the team, 18 year old Klein would go on to finish 46th.
It was our first European race together as a team this season. We had some bad luck quite early in the race that affected some of my teammates. Doris [Schweizer] was involved in a crash on the second climb and we had some other technical problems. Someone quite highly positioned on the Patersberg uncleated and stopped and that caused a split and affected some riders like Joëlle [Numainville].That was a bit unfortunate because I think it affected the team but having said that, I think we had a good start. I'm satisfied with the race. I felt really good. I feel like the racing from South Africa has meant I'm here on good form, it's just unfortunate I didn't finish it off. I think it's a case of fine tuning. I probably used too much energy in the first part of the race which cost me in the sprint for third but we can be happy with our effort and we're just going to start working better and better as a team and get stronger.
It was Lisa [Klein’s] first elite race and to be put down for Omloop as your first elite race is a huge thing. It's one of the hardest and most technical races and she did a fantastic job. Her job was to work and be visible in the beginning, covering attacks and helping with positioning. She's definitely a rider to look out for because if this is how she’s riding now, she is only going to get better.
My task was to be in the front for the first 40 kilometres and to go with the attacks. I was a little bit tired on the first climbs but I managed to close a lot of the attacks which I was happy with. During the race I had to fight back and bring our group back to the front riders sometimes with not a lot of help from others in the race. There was a lot of wind and for me it was the first time I had to ride over 11 cobbled sections. It was also a longer distance than I am used to from the junior races so I am happy with today.