GP de Dottignies
The big women's cycling event of the day was the Grand Prix de Dottignies, a 133.25km race taking place in the French-speaking Walloon region of Belgium. The race consisted of one 77.25km parcours with a couple of interesting climbs halfway through and one in the latter half, followed by four passes of a flat 14km circuit. Maps here: 77.25km / 14km; profiles here: 77.25km / 14km.
(image credit: ghirolfo CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
With the 14km circuit being flat, the peloton played cat and mouse games with various riders feigning attacks and then mounting real attacks as the entire pack slowed down and then sped up repeatedly and apparently at random as they dared one another to make an early break. The 23-year-old Belarusian Alena Amialiusik (BePink) did extraordinarily well to maintain her lead once the riders down the road began to pick up the pace as the finish line drew near (especially considering she was 10th at the Ronde van Vlaanderen and must have been feeling it), but she was eventually caught with 2km to go.
There was no surprise when it all ended with a bunch sprint but with several of the top riders also still feeling the effects of the Ronde in their legs, it was a sprint that could have gone anywhere right up until the last second and a number of less-well-known riders were battling it out with the big guns right to the line. In the end, a group of thirteen crossed the line as a group, but nobody could top the sheer power of Monia Baccaille (MCipollini) when she launched herself from the group and crossed the line like a luminous green rocket to take a stunning victory. Emma Johansson (Hitec-Mistral) was just behind her for second place, followed by Alona Andruk (Diadora-Pasta Zara) for third. (Full results)
1. Monia Baccaile MCipollini-Giambenini-Gauss 03:29:49
2. Emma Johansson Hitec Products-Mistral Home zt.
3. Alona Andruk Diadora-Pasta Zara zt.
4. Christine Majerus Team GSD Gestion zt.
5. Rasa Leleivyte Vaiana-Tepso zt.
6. Valentina Scandolara S.C. Michela Fanini Rox zt.
7. Carmen Mcnellis Small zt.
8. Isabelle Soderberg AA Drink - Leontien.nl zt.
9. Nathalie Lamborelle Kleo Ladies Team zt.
10. Nicole Cooke Faren-Honda Team zt.
Irene van den Broek out of competition
Dolmans-Boels' Irene van den Broek - who finished in second place at the Dutch National Championships last year - has been forced to bring a temporary halt to her racing due to a lung complaint. The 31-year-old suffered painful breathing throughout the Trofeo Binda and Ronde van Vlaandered, leaving her unable to finish in both cases. She'll now undergo medical tests to find out what's wrong.