• Chantal Blaak celebrates as she crosses the finish first on the 5th edition of the women's Gent-Wevelgem (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Chantal Blaak soloed to her third victory of the season at Gent Wevelgem after attacking the lead group inside the final ten kilometres.
Cycling Central

28 Mar 2016 - 9:49 AM  UPDATED 28 Mar 2016 - 12:32 PM

Blaak immediately gained a gap, and she never looked back. She reached the finish line 1:24 ahead of a seven-rider chase group that included Ellen van Dijk. 

“It feels so good,” Blaak said. “I’m really happy to win this race. The plan was to have numbers in the front today, and we had numbers. Then you have to finish it together. It was cool that we did it.” 

Blaak takes the Women's WorldTour lead from world champion and Boels-Dolmans team-mate Lizzie Armitstead. after also winning Le Samyn and the Ronde van Drenthe earlier this season. 

The fifth edition of the women’s Gent Wevelgem covered 115km with the race’s five ‘hellingen’ grouped in the middle of the route.  

When the race had reached the first ascent of the Kemmelberg at the 51-kilometre mark, the peloton had split into two distinct groups. Following the first passage of the Kemmelberg, an elite selection had been made. Twenty-seven riders formed the leading group, with six riders from Boels-Dolmans in the selection. 

“It was a really windy race,” Blaak said. “It split already early. The Kemmelberg was really hard, and after the Kemmelberg, we were still with the whole team, so that was impressive.  The girls did such a good job.”  

With the climbs completed and 30 kilometres still to race, world champion Lizzie Armistead attacked twice. A counter-attack by Blaak followed Armistead’s catch. The Dutchwoman immediately opened up a small gap on three chasers – Lisa Brennauer (CANYON//SRAM), Emma Johansson (Wiggle High 5) and Annemiek van Vleuten (ORICA-AIS). 

“We started to play with numbers,” said Blaak. “In the end, I have an attack and the confidence that the girls were behind me. It was really good teamwork today.” 

Boels-Dolmans put three riders in the top 10 and five in the top 20, including 2014 Ronde van Vlaanderen winner Ellen van Dijk, who returned to racing on Sunday following her recovery from a broken rib sustained at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last month.  

The UCI Women’s WorldTour continues next Sunday with the Tour of Flanders. 

“Next week is Flanders,” Blaak said. “I’m really looking forward to starting in this (Women’s WorldTour) jersey at my favourite classic.”