Spending so much time covering races makes it difficult not to get invested in the careers of some of the riders, especially those on teams we work with. That made today’s result at Le Samyn des Dames extra special. Sheyla is one of the nicest people you could hope to meet. Every race she’ll greet you with a big smile, ask how you’ve been and be genuinely interested in the answer. Countless times I’ve seen her pick her teammates up when they’re feeling down and work so hard in races without quite getting that big result. But all that changed today and if the first weekend of the Spring is anything to go by, it won’t be the last time we see her on the podium this year.
Next up is the long drive to Siena. But it’ll be worth it! Strade Bianche here we come!
Alessandra Borchi keeps warm with a coffee on a bitterly cold day for Le Samyn des Dames.
Hannah Barnes prepares for her first race of the season.
More rider cards for fans. The autograph hunters were out in force today.
Amy Pieters in good spirits at sign in.
Peloton roll out of Quaregnon.
CANYON//SRAM Racing set the pace on the first time up the cobbled climb.
Victorie Guilman battles over the wet cobbles.
Fans shelter from the cold and rain in a local cafe between the local laps.
Defending champion, Chantal Blaak with 1.5 laps to go.
Sheyla Gutierrez punches the air.
Sheyla Gutierrez celebrates with team soigneur, Geerike Schreurs.
Geerike shares the news as the rest of the team come through the finish funnel.
A tough first race with Boels Dolmans for Jip van den Bos.