Van Anrooij understands why it might have seemed odd: "I thought Kasia had closed the gap' Cycling

Van Anrooij understands why it might have seemed odd: "I thought Kasia had closed the gap'

Van Anrooij understands why it might have seemed odd: "I thought Kasia had closed the gap'

Shirin van Anrooij seemed for a moment to be on her way to victory in the Tour of Flanders on Sunday, but in the end, the cycling gods had other plans. The lady from the Netherlands saw her Lidl-Trek teammate Elisa Longo Borghini and Kasia Niewiadoma catch up to her, after which the Italian was able to finish off the race following a lead-out from Van Anrooij.

"I'm definitely not disappointed," Van Anrooij shared more than an hour after the race, following all the formalities, with and the gathered press. "Finishing third is already a great achievement for me, but the goal was to win with the team. And we succeeded, so everyone can congratulate me. I understand why it might have looked odd on TV. I thought Kasia had managed to close the gap, but it turned out to be the right tactic in the end. I was already pretty spent myself and trust the tactical decisions from Jeroen Blijlevens and Ina-Yoko Teutenberg in the car, which they executed brilliantly," said a proud Van Anrooij.

"I did entertain the thought of winning, especially when I managed a gap after the Paterberg, something totally unexpected. But it soon became clear I had to wait for Elisa and Kasia. I realized waiting for Elisa was the best move since she had the fastest sprint," she noted.

longo van anrooij

Van Anrooij attacked immediately after long chase

"You never know if I could have stayed ahead, and in the end, we won. That makes me think it was the right call, also because you don't know how it would have turned out otherwise. Now, we were able to keep taking turns at the front, but it's difficult to answer. t’s been a fulfilling day, landing two of us on the podium and snagging the win."

Van Anrooij didn't make this edition of the Tour of Flanders easy for herself. "It was very tough, but I made it even tougher for myself. I was positioned too far back on the Koppenberg, which led to a long chase. I also had to run a bit, so that was challenging. You know that in advance, but I must say I found the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg tougher. After my chase, I attacked immediately, but I don't know... it's just fun when it's a tough race. The rain and length made it even more enjoyable," said the cyclocross rider, who thus felt at home in the challenging conditions.

Yet, it was still a tense moment for her in the final phase, where she led Longo Borghini to the last straight line. "It was very tense. We kept hearing we had an eighteen-second lead, so we had to keep pushing. It seemed to take a long time for Elisa to overtake in the sprint, but fortunately, she won in the end. Otherwise, we would have finished second and third. It was clear to everyone that we had to win if you're there with two. I wanted to keep the pace high so that Kasia couldn't win, or the rest couldn't catch up," she revealed right after crossing the finish line.

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