Amy Pieters continued a dominant start to the season for SD Worx, as she took victory from an elite group in the 2021 women’s Nokere Koerse.
Dutch rider Pieters formed part of a long-range three-rider breakaway that escaped the peloton 60km from home, which then held off the surging peloton in the final.
On the familiar cobbled dash to the finish, Pieters overpowered her rivals Grace Brown (BikeExchange) and Lisa Klien (Canyon-SRAM) to take her first win of the season after numerous near misses this year.
How it happened
The 2021 Nokere Koerse was raced over 120km from Deinze to Kruisem in the Flanders region of Belgium, featuring 16 cobbled sectors and the regular finish on the Nokereberg – a cobbled stretch with a slight incline.
Riders faced a total of six ascents of the Nokereberg over a number of local laps, with the peloton taking on three decisive 12km laps in the final 40km.
At around the halfway point in the stage, Pieters, Brown and Klein made their decisive move as they broke free from the bunch with 60km left to the line, but they were never able to build up more than a minute advantage on the tough winding course.
Entering the final lap of the race, the bunch was close behind the leading trio and it looked like the winner would be decided by a bunch sprint.
But the trio found their impetus inside the final 10km and were able to extend their advantage out to almost 30 seconds in the closing kilometres.
The race came down to just the three leading riders on the final ride on the Nokereberg, but it was Pieters who bested her rivals to take the sprint.
Pieters hasn’t finished outside the top-six places in her seven race days so far this season and finally secured a deserved win in Belgium.
She continues a phenomenal run for her SD Worx team, after Anna van der Breggen won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Chantal van den Broek-Blaak took Strade Bianche earlier this month.
Nokere Koerse women’s 2021, Deinze to Kruisem (120km)
1. Amy Pieters (Ned) SD Worx, in 3-13-53
2. Grace Brown (Aus) Team BikeExchange, at same time
3. Lisa Klein (Ger) Canyon-SRAM, at 4s
4. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Liv Racing, at 30s
5. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) Team DSM
6. Jolien D’Hoore (Bel) SD Worx
7. Maria Guilia Confalonieri (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT
8. Emma Norsgaard (Den) Movistar
9. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Alé BTC Ljubljana
10. Christine Majerus (Lux) SD Worx, all at same time