Dany Schoonbaert, manager of the Lotto Belisol Ladies, reviews the season. The elite team won fifteen times, among those victories are the Belgian road Championship and three stages in the Giro Rosa.
Victory at Belgian Championship
A good youth team
Liesbet De Vocht has retired from cycling. In this last season she got fourth in Omloop Het Nieusblad and seventh in Ghent-Wevelgem and Tour of Flanders. She took silver at the Belgian Championship time trial. Liesbet won the races in Prosperpolder and Arendonk, where she had a farewell race mid-July to thank friends, family and supporters. Then she continued for some weeks. The 35-year-old rider did lots of work for the team and could share her experience with younger riders. Over the years De Vocht won six Belgian titles, four in the time trial and two in the road race.
More fun as I got stronger
A plan comes together at Belgian Championship
Go full one more time
Jolien D'hoore has won silver in the omnium at the European Track Championships in Guadeloupe. After the first day the Belgian led the classification. She conquered that spot after the second place in the scratch, third place in the individual pursuit and second place in the elimination. D'hoore had four points more than Kirsten Wild and Laura Trott. Three events were left.
In the 500 metres time trial Jolien D'hoore got second, just like in the flying lap. With only the points race to come Laura Trott had as many points as D'hoore. In the points race D'hoore lost the gold to Trott, the difference was only one point. The German rider Anna Knauer took the bronze.
Jolien D'hoore: "I'm still disappointed that I just missed out on gold. That will probably take a while. This is definitely a good result, but when you see how close I got, it's a pity. Laura Trott and I stood close to each other in the ranking the entire omnium. The points race would be decisive. First I got ahead, then we had equal points again. The last sprint would be crucial. Twenty metres before the finish I was ahead, but then Trott passed me. But I get stronger every omnium, I'm making progress."
"The track in Guadeloupe was made of concrete and was 333 metres long, that's exceptionally long. It didn't ran smoothly and that made it tough. You could compare it more with a road race. It was an outdoor track with lots of wind and the rain caused delays. You had to take several factors into account. Ten minutes before the start of the elimination it started raining and our start was delayed. Later on you had to warm up again. Mentally that's difficult, but the circumstances are the same for everyone. In the beginning of November I will take part in the World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico. Then there's an interland in Ghent and a three-day event during the Six Days of Ghent. In December there's a World Cup in London."
Today is the start of the Lotto Belisol Belgium Tour. The riders will begin with a prologue of 7.82 kilometers in Soignies. Tomorrow there's a stage of 110 kilometers with start and finish in Honnelles. A lap of 12.24 kilometers will have to be covered nine times.
On Saturday there's another time trial, then the teams will have to compete against each other. The course in Colfontaine is 20.1 kilometers long. Next there's a stage in Halle of almost 103 kilometers that consists of nine local laps. Geraardsbergen will welcome the Lotto Belisol Belgium Tour on the final day. The women can warm up with a first lap of 29.31 kilometers. That is followed by one of 33.28 kilometers. In both laps the ladies will have to cover Tenbosse. At the end there are two laps of 18.86 kilometers with the Muur. The finish lies on the Vesten.
Selection Lotto Belisol Ladies: Isabelle Beckers, Amy Cure, Jolien D'hoore, Chantal Hoffmann, Joëlle Numainville and Anisha Vekemans.
Photo: Krist Vanmelle
A team of six Lotto Belisol Ladies stands at the start of La Route de France. This is a seven-day stage race which heads from the west of France to the east. The start takes place this afternoon in the Vendée. Mouilleron-en-Pareds hosts the start and finish of the first stage and the second stage begins there as well. The race ends on Saturday the 16th of August in the department Saône-et-Loire.
Selection Lotto Belisol Ladies: Jolien D'hoore, Liesbet De Vocht, Lieselot Decroix, Sarah Rijkes, Celine Van Severen and Anisha Vekemans.
The Australian Amy Cure conquered two medals at the past Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. In the individual pursuit she battled against Scottish Katie Archibald for bronze, the rider of the Lotto Belisol Ladies turned out to be the best. Gold was for the English rider Joanna Roswell. Cures fellow countrywoman Annette Edmondson gained silver.
A day later Cure attended the scratch event. The 21-year-old got second and on the podium she received the silver medal. She stood next to Edmondson again, who had won gold this time. Elinor Barker, from Wales, completed the top three.
Individual pursuit: Bronze
The importance of the Commonwealth Games
Back to road racing
Emma Pooley has completed her last days as a professional cyclist. The time trial and road race at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow were her last two races. She defended the English colours. In both races she gained the silver medal!
Emma Pooley: "I was happy to get the silver medal in the time trial, but also a bit disappointed that I missed out on gold. It was very close. But you can't change anything afterwards. I'm just so pleased that I won a medal in the time trial, it's a nice way to finish my career. In the road race I worked for Lizzie Armitstead, so I didn't expect to get on the podium. I worked hard for her. At a certain moment I was solo and then Lizzie bridged to me. I was lucky to stay ahead and gain the silver."
"It was not so hard to defend that second place. I just kept riding. I'm surprised they didn't catch me, because I had done most of the work in the break. When I crossed the finish line on Sunday I was very emotional because of the cheering, the crowd, my family who was there and of course because it was my last race. As a team we won the race and I got a medal myself. So I wasn't emotional in a sad way, but I knew I would never have that feeling again in a bike race. I'll just keep on training for triathlons now."
Past weekend the seventh and last race of the Lotto Cycling Cup took place: the Erondegemse Pijl. Ann-Sophie Duyck arrived solo at the finish, eight seconds later the peloton sprinted for the second place. Liesbet De Vocht turned out to be the fastest of the pack. The Swiss riders Désirée Ehrler completed the top three. In the overall classification of the Lotto Cycling Cup De Vocht got second with 151 points. Just like in 2013 Sofie De Vuyst is the overall winner, with a total amount of 188 points. Valerie Demey, third in GC, won the youth classification. She had 21 points more than Celine Van Severen, who was sixth overall. The Lotto Belisol Ladies were third in the club classification.
Liesbet De Vocht got second on Sunday as well. In Ninove she finished behind Maaike Polspoel.
Yesterday there was a Lotto Belisol Ladies delegation at the start of the Sparkassen Giro, a World Cup race. Marianne Vos won before Bronzini and Lepistö. Jolien D'hoore became fourth, a nice result.
From the 23rd of July until the 3rd of August the Commonwealth Games took place in Glasgow, Scotland. Amy Cure and Emma Pooley both returned home with two medals.
Amy Cure gained the bronze medal in the 3000 meters individual pursuit. A duel with Katie Archibald decided about the third place. A day later the Australian rider of the Lotto Belisol Ladies conquered silver in the scratch race (10 kilometers).
For Emma Pooley the time trial and road race at the Commonwealth Games were her last races before she retired from cycling. She won silver twice for England.