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Shelley Olds 4th and 5th in back-to-back openers of the European Classics. — Cylance Pro Cycling

Shelley Olds 4th and 5th in back-to-back openers of the European Classics.

Cylance Pro Cycling showed consistency and strength this past weekend in Belgium, as the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Omloop van het Hageland opened the season for the European Classics.

Shelley Olds (USA), Sheyla Gutierrez (ESP) Rosella Ratto (ITA), Kristabel Doebel-Hickok (USA), Valentina Scandolara (ITA) and Rachele Barbieri (ITA) lined up for Cylance in this challenging double-duty weekend.

“The classics are so unique,” said Shelley Olds. “200-plus riders, narrow roads, cold weather, cobbles, and a lot of prestige to win. This makes for very nervous racing and you have to be 100% focused at ALL times. The moment you lose focus can be the end of your race.

As predicted, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad saw nearly 200 riders for 123-kilometer race, with clear but cold conditions. Jessie Daams (Lotto Soudal Ladies) going things moving with a solo effort, but was reeled in with 40K to go. A break with Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) and Gracie Elvin (Oirica-AIS) proved the decisive moment, and Armitstead’s solo attack on Elvin lasted with 20K to go. With a near 30 second gap, Armitstead soloed to victory and Shelley Olds finished 5th in a tight bunch sprint.

Director Manel Lacambra sees the progress of the team in every race. “The first two classics of the year are never easy. Some of our riders were coming from altitude training, and they need days to adapt to the high speeds and cold conditions,” Lacambra said. “We are happy because the team is improving every race, and Shelley finished the work with two top 5 placings. We are more confident with every race.”

Oomloop het Nieuwsblad, Belgium. 123 kilometers
#    Rider Name (Country) Team                                                         Result
1     Elizabeth Armitstead (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team    3:23:05
2    Chantal Blaak (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team                 0:00:29
3    Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon-SRAM
4    Leah Kirchmann (Can) Team Liv-Plantur
5    Shelley Olds (USA) Cylance Pro Cycling

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