Woman cyclist forced to stop race after catching up with men

Tanya Simon
March 7, 2019

Despite the men's and women's races starting in the same location, the organisers appeared unprepared when Hanselmann could see the last few vehicles from the men's race up ahead.

Nicole Hanselmann, a Swiss cyclist who rides for Team Biglia, got off to such a fast start at the 13th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday that officials had to halt the women's event so Hanselmann did not encroach on the support vehicles that were following the men.

After about a five-minute pause, Hanselmann was allowed to resume and rebuild her lead of over a minute, but 15 minutes later, she was reined back in on the cobbles.

Hanselmann, along with the rest of the female cyclists in the women's event, began 10 minutes after the men's event.

"I got the gap again to start with on my own and I was just stood ten metres ahead of the bunch waiting and I got the gap again and then they caught me at the end of the first cobbled section", she told Cyclingnews.

Nicole Hanselmann
Nicole Hanselmann Luc Claessen Getty

A number of people have sought out Ms Hanselmann's Instagram page to offer her words of support.

"I attacked after 7km, and was alone in the break for around 30km... but then an awkward moment happened and I nearly saw the back of the men's peloton", Hanselmann said on Instagram.

"We came too close to the men's so we had to get a neutral time gap again", she told Cycling News. But the break coupled with the cold conditions sapped Hanselmann of energy, and the rest of the field eventually caught her. "I think we stopped for five or seven minutes and then it just kills your chances", she added.

Phmcody said: "It's really too bad they stopped your momentum but I can see that you were the champion for the day".

In order to create a clear distinction between the two races, the women's race at the annual Omloop Het Nieuwsblad race started 10 minutes after the men's.

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