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Jolien D’hoore takes back Lotto Belgium Tour lead with Stage Two Victory

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Jolien D’hoore returned to the top step of the podium, and returned herself to the Gold Race Leader’s Jersey, with a sprint victory at the end of the second stage of the Lotto Belgium Tour, in Herselt, near Antwerp. The Belgian Champion, dressed in the black and yellow jersey of the race’s Best Belgian Rider, was the fastest at the end of the 106km stage, after the peloton caught a four-rider breakaway inside the final kilometre.

Stage 1 winner Marianne Vos (WM3 Pro Cycling) was second, with Coryn Rivera (United States) in third place, meaning that the same three riders have occupied the podium on all three days of the race so far.

“Today I tried to stay calm and save as much energy as possible for tomorrow’s stage to Geraardsbergen,” D’hoore said afterwards. “I would have been happy for Lotte Kopecky [Lotto-Soudal, who was part of the four-rider break] if she had won the stage.

“In the finale WM3 started chasing, they obviously wanted to aim for victory with Marianne Vos,” D’hoore continued. “I positioned myself on the wheel of Marianne and didn’t let go anymore.

“It was a hectic sprint, because the break was only caught with about three hundred metres to go. At the end Marianne missed one rider in front of her to pull the sprint and that was perfect for me.”

There were several attempts to escape the peloton in the early kilometres of the stage, with Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling riders involved in some groups, while policing the others. Finally, when the four riders did get away, the peloton was happy to let them go and they were able to build a lead of almost two minutes.

Steadily the breakaway’s lead was reduced, however, until they were finally captured in the approach to the finishing straight.

Vos launched her sprint early, but D’hoore was able to stick with the former World and Olympic Champion before passing her in the final metres. Having worked hard throughout the stage to protect D’hoore’s interests, Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini was able to launch her own sprint and finished in sixth place.

Time bonuses on the line mean that D’hoore takes back the Gold Jersey from Vos, with both athletes divided on overall time by the Belgian Champion’s fractions-of-a-second winning margin in Tuesday’s Prologue.

“As I told earlier this week, I came to the Lotto Belgium Tour to prepare for the World Championships,” D’hoore said. “I had not at all expected to win twice. I can now wear the leader’s jersey for the last stage and of course I will defend it.

“Tomorrow will be about surviving, it won’t be easy to take the overall victory,” she added, referring to the tough final stage, which will tackle several of the famous climbs of the Tour of Flanders before finishing halfway up the famous Muur van Geraardsbergen.

“Rain is forecast and that will make the race even harder. It will be necessary to ride at the front when reaching the bottom of the Muur.”

Result
1. Jolien D’hoore (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)

2. Marianne Vos (WM3 Pro Cycling)
3. Coryn Rivera (United States)

Photo Credit: Anton Vos

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