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Emilia Fahlin third in Lotto Belgium Tour Stage one bunch sprint

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Emilia Fahlin finished in third place at the end of the first stage of the Lotto Belgium Tour, between Moorslede and Dadizele, as the race finished in a bunch sprint. The Swedish Champion began her sprint a long way from the line at the ned of the 119km stage, but was unable to hold off Lotte Kopecky (Lotto-Soudal) and Monique van der Ree (Waowdeals Pro Cycling), who finished first and second respectively.

“It was a very fast day. It was a very Belgian type of race!” Fahlin said afterwards. “There was no really big climb, and there were some cobbles, but the lap wasn’t really difficult.

“There was a breakaway from about halfway through, and Movistar didn’t have anybody in it so we let them work a little bit because they had the jersey,” the Swedish Champion explained. “Then, when we were closing in with 30km to go, we said we would put a couple of girls in to help close it. In the end I think we were one of the forces to help them bring it back.”

The team’s plan had been originally to lead out former Scratch Race World Champion Rachele Barbieri for the sprint but, unfortunately, the Italian was a victim of a crash early in the stage.

“We wanted to get Rachele up for the sprint, but unfortunately she went down in a crash at the beginning of the race,” Fahlin confirmed. “She made it up all right, and managed to get back on, so we’re happy she’s in one piece.

“It was pretty eventful, even if it didn’t look it on paper,” Fahlin continued. “It wasn’t too hard of a day – there weren’t any sections to make the race super-hard – and I think we expected a bunch sprint. We didn’t quite come out with a win, but it got quite messy, especially as it’s such a mixed bunch here. We found each other quite late, but we found each other really well.”

Approaching the finish, Fahlin managed to position herself near the front of the peloton but, with Barbieri unable to utilise her own sprint, the Swedish Champion was forced to go for herself.

“I had Rachele on my wheel and started sprinting super-early, bit then I had to fight, fight, fight to the line and I could get third,” she said. “It wasn’t a perfect run in for the final, but today we managed to move and stay together, and I think it was really cool to race together today.”

Third place on the line meant that Fahlin earned a four-second time bonus toward the general classification. Although Kopecky moved into the race lead, the Swedish Champion rises one place to ninth overall, and is well positioned for the remaining two stages.

“Obviously we had an eye on the GC as well, and I didn’t want to lose time,” Fahlin smiled. “But the last day will be super-hard and I’ll see how I feel.”

Result
1. Lotte Kopecky (Lotto-Soudal)
2. Monique van der Ree (Waowdeals Pro Cycling)
3. Emilia Fahlin (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)

Photo Credit: Anton Vos

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