Finish Lotta Lepistö races to victory in Waregem
One thing was sure before the start. After the sixth edition, a new name would be added to the honorary list. Neither Monique van de Ree, winner of the first edition in 2012, nor Kirsten Wild (2013) nor Amy Pieters, the best over the past three years, appeared at the start in Tielt.
Especially Natalie van Gogh and Emilie Moberg acted keen in the first half of the race to make an attack, but anything over a ten-second lead was granted to no one in the beginning. After Carolien Haers had been riding out front for a very short while, Moberg took another go in a new attempt with Sara Penton and Steffy Van den Haute. However, the latter had to give up quite quickly while Ester van Veen took the leap forward. The trio was able to briefly enjoy a 35-second lead but still before the foot of Oude Kwaremont, the first climb of the day at 36 kilometres from the finish, they were caught again.
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As expected, Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg brought some fragmentation, creating a leading group with great names such as Jolien D’hoore, Lotta Lepistö, Annemiek van Vleuten, Tiffany Cromwell, Thalita de Jong, Lucinda Brand, Ellen van Dijk, Katarzyna Niewiadoma, Lotte Kopecky, Ann-Sophie Duyck, Lisa Brennauer and Gracie Elvin.
Shortly after, D’hoore faced mechanical problems and had to wait way too long for a new bike to still make a chance so the final was raced by sixteen cyclists. There were several attack attempts, by the Brennauer-Van Vleuten duo, by Hannah Barnes, just before hitting the final kilometre by Lepistö as well, but in the end, it turned out to be sprint after all. The Finnish champion and third at the previous World Cup in Qatar still had enough left to beat Elvin and Brennauer.