Simone Boilard (St Michel-Mavic-Auber 93) soloed to victory at the third edition of the Belgian one-day race GP Oetingen on Saturday. The 23-year-old Canadian took a flyer with 13 kilometres to go to claim the first professional win of her career.
Evy Kuijpers (Fenix-Deceuninck) crossed the line eight seconds later to take second place. Maaike Boogaard (AG Insurance) finishing a further 13 seconds, was third.
Originally scheduled to take place on March 8, the 3rd edition of the race was first cancelled at the late minute due to heavy snow and later postponed to August.
Boilard, a former junior women’s road race medallist at the 2018 World Championships, recovered from surgery to correct iliac artery endofibrosis and a nearly-fatal sepsis infection in 2020. After two seasons with St Michel-Mavic-Auber93, she will move up to the WorldTour with Uno-X for a two-year contract in 2024.
“My first pro Win! When I least expected it… This season has been so hard for me dealing with a lot of crap on and off the bike but this week-end I just tried to enjoy racing, be in the moment and stop focussing on the outcome,” Boilard wrote on social media.
The 119.3km course was split into two parts, starting with a large loop around Oetingen featuring the Congoberg (1.1km at 5.4&) and the Rensberg (1.4km at 3.9%) followed by six laps of the 12km finishing circuit which included a cobbled section and the Bergstraat (700m at 5.7%).
The field shattered under numerous attacks on the finishing circuits. With two laps to go, the final selection was made with Boilard, Kuijpers, Boogaard and Jeanne Korevaar (Liv Racing Teqfind) getting a gap on the rest of the field. On a solo flyer, Boilard pushed the pace on the final lap while the chase was on behind her.