DUYCK TAKES TOP TEN IN LUXEMBOURG
April the 25th saw the start of the UCI 2.1 ranked Festival Elsy Jacobs, a three day stage race in Luxembourg which began with a 2.8km prologue on a wet, technical course in Cessange.
Ann- Sophie Duyck, fresh from victory in the West Flanders TT Championships, placed 12th, just 12s behind the winner Ashley Moolman-Pasio of Cervelo-Bigla. Day two saw a 97km stage featuring a long loop into the Luxembourg countryside followed by five laps of a hilly, 10km finishing circuit ending in the town of Steinfort. This was expected to be the decisive stage of the race and Rose Osborne, Lizzie Holden, Abi van Twisk and Lucy Shaw worked tirelessly to keep Ann- Sophie out of the wind and to cover the moves of rival teams including the Boels Doelmans outfit of World Champion Amelie Dideriksen.
The tough, selective circuit took its toll with Lucy who unfortunately was forced to retire, but Drops placed both Susy Zorzi and Ann- Sophie in the top 20, in 12th and 16th respectively, just 4 seconds behind the stage winner, Luxembourg National Champion Christine Majerus. This was enough to move Ann-Sophie into 9th on the overall classification, 23 seconds behind Majerus. The final stage followed a similar format to Stage 1, with a tough finishing circuit located in Garnich which even included some pave, as a hangover from the Flemish Classics a few weeks before. Perhaps the toughness of the circuit was what led to the tight, controlled racing, policed by Boels Dolmans trying to keep their local hero in the leaders’ jersey. By the finish line, a group of 33 contested the win, with Elsie Delzenne of Lotto-Soudal taking the honours. Once again, good teamwork saw Ann-Sophie and Susy make it to the finale and finish on the same time as the winner, securing the team’s goal of a top ten placing on the overall with Duyck taking 9th. Susy just missed out on the top 20 on GC, finishing up 21st, 43 seconds behind Majerus.
The other standout from an excellent team performance was Lizzie Holden, taking 7th in the Young Riders ranking.