They may have only walked away with Sarah Roy's fifth at Tour of Flanders, but Mitchelton-Scott sure made it count, taking it to race winner Chantal van den Broek-Blaak and her dominant Boels-Dolmans team in the final 30 kilometres.
SBS Cycling Central

19 Oct 2020 - 4:48 AM  UPDATED 19 Oct 2020 - 5:22 AM

In the calm between the late skirmishes, van den Broek-Blaak escaped up the Oude Kwaremont, 18kms from the finish, never looking back as Anna van der Breggen's world champion efforts quelled further counter attacks and guaranteed her team mate's victory.

It wasn't the only time van der Breggen suffocated daring attacks, especially from Mitchelton-Scott.

Van Vleuten powered away 27kms from the line with just the rainbow jersey able to bridge across.

Many expected to see the pair duel to the finish but van der Breggen, her eyes fixed on victory only for her team mate, refused to collaborate with the European champion, sitting up to wait for the bunch, dragging van Vleuten back reluctantly. 

At this point, Brown and Roy reunited with the reduced peloton after losing contact after their team mate's attack, last week's Brabantse Pijl winner immediately taking to the front to drive the pace. 

After van den Broek-Blaak's escape, van Vleuten and Brown refused to ride just for minor placings and launched multiple attacks in the race's dying moments.

But van der Breggen continued to stifle their hard work, a late lull in the pace seeing Roy return to the reduced bunch to sprint for the minor placings. 

“I wasn’t really expecting to get back on in the last five kilometres,' Roy said. "Grace and Annemiek were in the front group and getting ready to try to go for a result and within a split second (our directors) could see in the car I was about to make contact so (they) called it.

“I’m really thankful to have the support of the team and to have Grace in the finish to do a bit of a lead out with 500m to go which made it easier for me to find some space.”

“I am really disappointed not to finish on the podium but it’s the best result I’ve had here at Flanders. I had no idea how I would go here today but this is really promising for next year.”