During Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad cycling race in Belgium, a female cyclist was forced to stop when she pulled far ahead from the women’s group and caught up with the men’s. Swiss cyclist Nicole Hanselmann was enjoying a two-minute lead into the 75-mile race when officials asked her to stop at a level crossing until a gap could be restored between herself and the men’s group. After five minutes she was allowed to continue, but ended up finishing 74th.
She later explained the situation in an Instagram post, saying, “I attacked after 7km, and was alone in the break for around 30km…but then a awkward moment happend and I almost saw the back of the men’s peloton… May the other women and me were to fast or the men to slow.”
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Today was the first spring classic in Belgium. I attacked after 7km, and was alone in the break for around 30km…but then a awkward moment happend and I almost saw the back of the men’s peloton… May the other women and me were to fast or the men to slow🙈 After the neutralization, I was caught up again and finished the race on the 74th place. 🚴🏻♀️ #bigla #chapter2 #endura #ohn #ohn19 #ohnwomen #roadrace #springclassic #sheridesroad #sufferfest #womenpower 📸: @velofocus
“It was a bit sad for me,” she told Cycling News at the finish line, “because I was in a good mood and when the bunch sees you stopping, they just get a new motivation to catch you.”
Hanselmann was given a head start on the rest of the women cyclists once they were allowed to resume, to allow her to make up for lost time, but the break proved too damaging to her momentum. The decision by race officials is already under fire, with commenters on Hanselmann’s Instagram photo calling the move shameful.