Gent-Wevelgem had a thrilling final on Sunday. Soraya Paladin, who had been on the attack with Elisa Longo Borghini, was only caught in the last five hundred metres after which Lotte Kopecky sprinted to second place. Marianne Vos grabbed the victory.
Soraya Palandin’s strong performance in Gent-Wevelgem was once again a confirmation that she is in good shape. “It was a very tough race today, partly because of the wind. Just before the first passage of the Kemmelberg, I had a technical problem and had to change bikes. As a result, I ended up behind and had to dig deep to get back into the peloton.”
She was able to reconnect to the peloton just before the Plugstreets. “I tried to save energy there and to catch my breath”, she says. “As we got to the final of the race, the scenario looked pretty good for us as a team. We rode nicely at the front which was all right tactically. Unfortunately, we lost Sofia Bertizzolo shortly afterwards after an unfortunate fall.”
At 21 kilometres from the finish, Paladin and compatriot Longo Borghini attacked. The Italian duo took a maximum lead of half a minute at the peloton. “After all the efforts, I had to go really deep. I tried to do my turns at the front as best as possible. But the further we got, the more I felt the energy melt”, says Paladin.
“On the long, straight roads we stayed a lot in sight of the peloton which made it challenging to stay ahead. In the final kilometres, I felt that we would be caught. Of course I knew that Lotte Kopecky was still in the chasing peloton where she was well supported by Jeanne Korevaar. Lotte eventually sprinted to a second place. Vos was out of everyone’s league today.”
Photo credits: Cor Vos