Annette Edmondson (Wiggle High5) won the second edition of the Pajot Hills Classic in Gooik, Belgium, on Wednesday with a dominant sprint on the uphill finishing straight. Edmondson crossed the line several bike lengths ahead of Barbara Guarischi (Canyon-SRAM) in second and Ilaria Sanguineti (BePink-Cogeas) in third.
“I knew with this type of uphill finish that it was all about power, so you just had to be in a good position when it was long and strung out,” Edmondson said. “It wasn’t a big bunch kick really, it was more of a big grovel really, I had a lot of anger and energy, and it just all exploded up that hill. It was awesome.”
The day’s racing in Belgium included cobbled classics, punchy climbs and plenty of road furniture for the former double track world champion to navigate as she transitions to road, but the 25-year-old Australian handled it with aplomb.
“It was a bit of a course with everything really; a small lap, a big lap and then two small laps to finish,” she said. “There were probably about 7-8km of cobbles in it, and a couple of big hills. In the middle of the race was the Muur, and then a few kilomteres later was the Bosberg, so we were just hoping that it was going to come back into a reduced bunch kick like it did last year.
“Looking at the teams there we felt that we could challenge the teams there, in the sprint, but because it was small race we gave everybody the opportunity to make a move, or to be in a group, or to try to win the race for themselves somehow,” Edmondson said.
Despite the bunch finish, there was no shortage of attacking throughout the day as opportunists hoped to beat the sprinters’ teams. Edmondson praised her teammates for keeping the race in check until she could launch her winning effort in the finale.
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