In Belgium Team Coop – Hitec Products raced its last road race of the season on Tuesday, Binche – Chimay – Binche. With a long attack, Nicole Steigenga even came close to the win. Just before the final kilometer her leading group got caught, after which Nicole still managed to finish 14th. “I think we could have made it to the finish, if the collaboration in the group would have been good. But I guess they rather sprint for a second place behind Lorena Wiebes.” The Dutch rider won the sprint for the win with ease.
The disappointment was there for Nicole after the race, as she had hoped for a different outcome. “The first 20 to 30 kilometers were a bit hilly. The pace was high and the peloton broke, but in the end everything came together again”, Nicole looks back on the race. “At the start of the first local lap of 15 kilometers, that we had to do three times, we rode away with a group of eight riders. It went so easily, that I think we would have been able to get a lead of a few minutes and then I think we wouldn’t have been caught. But apparently people prefer to wait until we race to the finish with Lorena.”
In the final, Nicole did have some hope. “Three to four kilometers from the end we still had thirty seconds and I thought we might make it after all. The finish was uphill and I thought it could be good to have a gap before that, but I also knew I would lose a lot of speed on the climb as well in that case. So, I decided to get on the wheel of Julie van de Velde, because I expected that she would go full gas from the bottom of the climb, hoping she would shake everyone off.”
‘I am happy with how I raced’
That didn’t happen, as the peloton closed the gap just before the climb to the finish. “The peloton arrived earlier than I thought and then the fight for the win was over. But I am happy with how I raced. I did everything I could to win and would have loved to take a win for Team Coop – Hitec Products. That is also what I had chosen; riding for the win instead of sprinting for second place.”
Chrono des Nations
Even though it was her last race in the peloton, as it was for the other riders, it wasn’t the last race for Nicole in the Team Coop – Hitec Products colours. She, Ane Iversen and Jessica Roberts will do one more race for the team this season, a time trial; the Chrono des Nations on the 16th of October.
Photo: Daan van Overveld