We finished Dwars Door Vlaanderen with two riders on the podium when Kasia Niewiadoma and Alexis Ryan were second and third today in Waregem, Belgium.
The 122km race was thrilling from start to finish with several different race situations. Race winner Annemiek van Vleuten (MOV) attacked with 35km to go and only Kasia was able to match the European road champion. Though the advantage fluctuated between 15 and 25 seconds for almost an hour of racing, the duo stayed to the finish line. The sprint from the 20-rider chase group was won by Alexis.
After the race, Kasia said she was confident her breakaway would make it to the finish despite the strong chase efforts behind.
“The race was gruelling mentally and physically. We started with such a big peloton and the fight for the right position definitely took a lot of energy out of everyone. I knew from the beginning of our breakaway, that we were going to stay away! I just had this feeling we were going to make it,” said Kasia.
“I really wanted to race to the finish line and give my best, but I think during the final I got stuck in a mindset that I have to defend instead of fight for the victory. Maybe I got a little bit intimidated. It’s a good lesson before Flanders because I think I could have raced differently to get that top step today. I’m very happy for Alexis to join me on the podium!”
Alexis said, “I’m very happy with the race today, it’s been a long time since I’ve been on the podium and I’m excited to be on it. It’s a relief to finally be able to open up my sprint and feel like ‘I have it’. And also be there for the team. We had such a great race, I’m really proud of everybody.”
Alexis’ third place topped off an impressive team performance today by our team.
“We nailed it today. Every single section where we needed to be in the front, we were. We were always together. Whenever the moves went on the climbs or cobbled sections we had no issue following, and we had four in the front group when it split. I think Ella and Neve did pretty well too, considering they’re not as experienced. When it started to get really hard, Kasia and myself were there and the group was quite small. She did a great move by following Annemiek on the climb. I couldn’t go as fast so I had to pace it, but I could stay in the group just behind. I remained patient, made sure I was always in the front and if anyone was trying to bridge across I was there with them,” continued Alexis.
“It gives the team a lot of confidence. A win is always great but any podium spot is good for the team and to have two of them, that shows other teams that we’re ready to fight in the next races.”