Courtesy of USA Cycling
Dede Demet-Barry reflected on the conditions and course - “It was an interesting race. By the 9th lap, I didn’t get the feeling that there was going to be a
breakaway. There had been a couple of attacks, but it was easier to stay in the peleton. And then the rain started…and everything changed.
The course became so slippery...there was a lot of paint on the course that made things really slick...and because we’re racing on an auto racing track, there must be some oil mixed in the track, too. So a lot of riders started crashing.”
The crashes ended the hopes of many riders - including Team USA’s Amber Neben, who crashed in the seventh lap. Laura VanGilder (Cresco, Pa.) and Kimberly Bruckner (Boulder, Colo.) also endured a crash in the final lap of the ten-lap event but were able to get back in the race- finishing 52nd and 56th respectively.
“I feel really fortunate to have not crashed and finished the race”, said Demet-Barry. “Once the rain started, I think about half of the peloton went down. In fact, at the very end of the race as we started our final descent, I actually rode over a bike...I just thank God that I was able to hang on. It took a little time to catch up again with the front group. I’m not particularly happy about finishing 16th, but I felt that I did the best I
could under the conditions.”
Elite Women’s Coach Jim Miller also commented on the conditions and the peloton - “The weather was decent until the last lap...there was no wind and the temperatures were cold. This was not the weather we were hoping for, our girls race well in more challenging conditions. This course just isn’t selective enough for all the riders to be competitive.
“There are some teams here that have really strong sprinters, but we didn’t have that card to play, said Miller. “Although we have a couple of good sprinters, our team is relatively untested against the European sprinters. The girls raced hard, but when you have over 100 motivated
girls and the course is this flat, it’s hard to get the top result.”
“It was really interesting because the girls who ended up in the breakaway at the end of the race are really strong climbers, said Demet-Barry. “We all thought that the strong sprinters would win this race. But the breakaway riders rode aggressively the whole race, and
when the rain started, it was harder for the peloton to chase. It was good to see Susan [Ljungskog] win because she’s been strong all season - she’s a worthy World Champion.”
Demet-Barry and Team USA head back to the States Sunday - “I’m in school right now at the University of Colorado [Boulder] and I’m in the middle of mid-term exams [studying international affairs and French]...I took a few before I came to Belgium. So now I’ll go home and finish
those up,” said Demet-Barry.