Gent - Wevelgem, the third Women’s World Tour Race includes The Kemmelberg, an iconic climb the peleton must ride up twice during their route through Flanders Fields.
With plenty of the world’s top teams present, Drops riders Alice Barnes, Susy Zorzi, Abby-Mae Parkinson, Annie Simpson, Rebecca Durrell and Ann-Sophie Duyck were there to try and make an impact on what is always a challenging race.
The whole team was devoted to ride for Alice Barnes who, prior to the race, was fourth in the UCI Women’s World Tour U23 rankings – and they had every intention of moving her up.
Sometimes, luck isn’t on your side, and that was certainly the case for Ann-Sophie Duyck. The Belgian suffered a horrific accident while descending at speed after a ripple in the peleton caused multiple riders to crash. She sustained heavy injuries to her shoulder and side which resulted in a trip in an ambulance to the local hospital. Simpson, as Domestique, stopped to assist Duyck after the incident in the event she needed pacing back to the front. Unfortunately, by the time it became clear that she would be unable to continue, Simpson has lost too much ground and her race was finished.
The race wasn’t over though and Barnes still had Parkinson and Zorzi for company over The Kemmelberg first time around. The two fought hard to deliver Barnes to the front of the peleton where she impressed once again.
In a heated sprint finish, Barnes delivered another speedy performance to get over the line in 8th place. One of the best results in the team’s history and one that moved her up to second in the UCI U23 rankings.
More good news was also on the way as doctors confirmed Ann-Sophie Duyck hadn't broken any bones. She is now recovering and will shortly start preparations for Ardenne Classics.