Lisa Brennauer finished fourth yesterday in Lierde in the second stage of the Lotto Belgium Tour. The stage was won by Marianne Vos (RLT) who now takes over the leader jersey before today's final stage in Geraardsbergen.
After the early part of the race was neutralised for 10km due to traffic control, the stage became aggressive. Despite several break away attempts it was the full peloton that came to the uphill drag finish in Lierde. An exceptional lead out from the CANYON//SRAM Racing team couldn't stop Vos from taking the win and Brennauer had to settle for fourth.
Brennauer is 18 seconds behind the leader Vos. Tomorrow's 97km stage is around the city of Geraardsbergen, where the peloton will race the famous Muur van Geraardsbergen two times. Racing starts at 12:30 (CEST) and can be followed on the team's Twitter @WMNcycling and using #LottoBelgiumTour.
See the image gallery from Velofocus and read our rider's reactions:
Lisa Brennauer: There wasn't a lot happening at the start, but in the final laps it was more aggressive, especially around the small climb. It became more active and more exciting. We were always present in moves and I really liked to see how we found each other in the final for a good lead out. In the end I was fourth. Of course it's not what I wanted. Especially since the team did such a great lead out.
I've ridden the Muur van Geraardsbergen several times now. It's a tough climb and positioning is important. I think the GC will be made in a decisive move tomorrow, it could be on the Muur.
Barbara Guarischi: It was hard. It was a good race, after the neutralised section especially. We tried to be in the front before the dangerous small climb. On the last lap, Lisa was in a small break with Hannah and Alexis. Then when it came back we did a lead out for Lisa.
I've done the Muur van Geraardsbergen one time when it was still in the Flanders course. It will be tough!
Mieke Kröger: Today I felt tired, especially after the neutral section it was hard to get going again, like I was running on reserve. But I am happy I made it back into the peloton, a few times actually, and in the end I could contribute to the lead out for Lisa.
I've ridden the Muur van Geraardsbergen two or three times. Like every climb it depends how fast it is ridden. Positioning will be key. When I rode it the first time I remember expecting something longer, steeper and more slippery. But as I said you can make every climb easy or hard. I might change my mind during the first time up the Muur tomorrow!
Alexis Ryan: It took a while before I felt good. Yesterday's effort took a fair bit out of my legs. But I was able to be there on the smaller laps. I was in the move with Lisa on the last lap and ready to help, but then we were caught back. We were able to find each other in the final like yesterday and about 2km to go we committed fully. I was Lisa's last lead out and took her to 150m. The others were just faster today.
I have never raced the Muur van Geraardsbergen. I'm interested to see it.
Tiffany Cromwell: With the neutralisation in the middle third the peloton lost it's momentum a bit. There were times when it was aggressive and times when it wasn't. We were smart with our attempts and attentive when we needed to be. When we realised it's coming to a sprint again we backed it for Lisa because we thought it would suit her best. It was messy around 5km to go but then in the last 2km we found each other again and committed full to the lead out. We did the best we could and she couldn't quite match the others. I think it was a good team effort and I'm happy with my contribution even though I'm not feeling 100%.
I've raced up the Muur van Geraardsbergen many times, from several different directions. It is a tough climb. It's all about positioning. It's always different racing it in spring versus summer too and tomorrow's it's dry and warm. It has the potential to split but equally it can come back together. It will depend on how it's raced after the top of the Muur. It can be strung out and if it's raced hard across to the Bosberg then this will make the difference.
Hannah Barnes: All of us were able to be there throughout the race. It split a few times and we were there, especially after the small climb when you needed to be concentrated. To be honest I didn't feel all that great today so I hope tomorrow my legs are better.
I've never done the Muur. I've watched plenty of races that have gone up it so I'm looking forward to racing it tomorrow, it's going to be good.