Women’s Cycle Race Paused Because Leader Caught The Men’s Race

nicole hanselmann cycling@nicole_hanselmann/Instagram/Proximus Sports

A cycling race in Belgium had to be paused when the leader of the women’s race caught up with the men’s race in front.

The women’s race had set off 10 minutes after the men’s, but Swiss cyclist Nicole Hanselmann of the Bigla Pro team surged ahead, gaining a two minute lead which took her so far ahead, she was in danger of being caught up by the support vehicles following the men’s race.

The race, the annual Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, was taking part in the Flemish Ardennes.

Because of Hanselmann’s proximity to the men’s race, officials hastily requested she stop at the side of the road.

Event organisers then had to ‘neutralise’ the women’s race in order to restore a safe distance between the two groups of cyclists, The Guardian reports.

Once the race was allowed to start again, Hanselmann was given a headstart on the peloton, though she was quickly caught up with, and eventually finished the race in 74th place.

Speaking to Cyclingnews, she said:

We came too close to the men’s so we had to get a neutral time gap again so it was a bit sad for me because I was in a good mood and when the bunch sees you stopping, they just get a new motivation to catch you.

The race jury just said we had to neutralise the race because we are getting too close to the men.

We could just see the ambulances of the men’s race. I think we stopped for five or seven minutes and then it just kills your chances.

Despite having to pause the race and suffering a bit of a set back because of it, Hanselmann was pleased with her performance, adding:

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.

The race was eventually won by Chantal Blaak, from the Boels Dolmans team.

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