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Nice fifth place for Elena Cecchini in Tour of Flanders

Italian champion Elena Cecchini finished as fifth in the twelfth edition of the women’s Tour of Flanders yesterday. The victory was for her fellow countrywoman Elisa Longo Borghini who arrived solo at the finish in Oudenaarde. Almost 45 seconds later a group of nine sprinted for the second place. Jolien D’hoore conquered that place, Anna van der Breggen was third.

Elena Cecchini: I’m really happy with this fifth place. At first I was a little bit disappointed I missed out on the podium, but this is an amazing result. Last year I was seventeenth. That I finished in top five this time means I have improved a lot and that makes me happy. The Tour of Flanders is such an iconic race. When you have a tough moment you just think about that and that gives you a boost. It’s wonderful that so many people are standing alongside the road, that gives a lot of energy.”

Thanks to the team
“When we set up a counterattack I realized it was too late to catch Elisa Longo Borghini. It was only fifteen kilometres to go and she had one minute advantage. Elisa was really strong. I train a lot with her during the year, so I’m happy for her. I want to thank my team, all the girls rode a really good race. Everyone was important and did their part of the job. Lieselot Decroix was the road captain and gave directions. Anouk Rijff and Anisha Vekemans took me to the front when necessary. Carlee Taylor and Susy Zorzi stayed long at my side and were really helpful. This is promising for the rest of the season.”

Dany Schoonbaert, head sports department Lotto Soudal Ladies: “I’m really satisfied with the fifth place of Elena and the performance of the whole team. Before the sprint I told Elena to get in the wheel of Jolien D’hoore and she did. Elena is still young, this is a positive sign for the future. As a team we took the maximum out of it. Everyone rode well and contributed to the final result. Anisha for example brought Elena back to the front after a mechanical problem, she did the same with Carlee after a crash. Lieselot guided the girls over the Flemish roads, she has a lot of experience. Anouk made a strong Tour of Flanders debut in her first elite season and stayed long in the first group.”

“The race developed as predicted: a closed bunch until the Wolvenberg and a reduced peloton after the Paddestraat. On those first hills and cobblestone sections a selection was made. After 110 kilometres all six of our riders were still part of the first group, that shows they were strong. It was a dangerous situation when a group of nine got in front after the Valkenberg. Just before that climb Carlee had crashed, otherwise she might have jumped along because she was ready. But those escapees got reeled in. Elena attacked on the right moment in the final and so she got this excellent result.”

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