Cycling race halted after female rider caught men

Alex Howes at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Alex Howes at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

In the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Swiss cyclist Nicole Hanselmann broke away from the women's peloton and was starting to get onto the tail of the support vehicles for the male race.

Swiss cyclist Nicole Hanselmann had surged into an early lead in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad race in Belgium on Saturday, but was forced to stop on the side of the road when she caught up with the men's race - which had set off 10 minutes earlier.

The cycling publication described Hanselmann's surge to the front as "a fearless solo move" for which the race organizers were unprepared.

When she approached the men's race, organizers of the early cobbled classic called for the women's race to be neutralized so a gap would remain between the races.

Hanselmann, a former national road champion of Switzerland, had surged into an early lead over the rest of the female competitors of nearly two minutes.

"After the neutralization, I was caught up again and finished the race on the 74th place".

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"We came too close to the men's so we had to get a neutral time gap again", she told Cycling News.

She referred in an Instagram post later to the forced delay as "awkward". May (be) the other women and me were too fast or the men to (sic) slow.

'The race jury just said we had to neutralise the race because we are getting too close to the men, ' Ms Hanselmann told Cyclingnews after the one-day race was over.

People responding to Hanselmann's Instagram - and on Twitter - complained that she should have been allowed to ride her race and not ordered to stop.

"We could just see the ambulances of the men's race".

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