Female cyclist in prestigious race forced to stop after she catches up to men's race

The women's edition of a prestigious Omloop het Nieuwsblad cycling race in Flanders was halted after her solo breakaway had almost caught the men's race, which had started on the same course 10 minutes earlier.

Former Swiss road race champion Nicole Hanselmann rode clear in the opening miles of the race on Saturday only for race organisers to call for the women's race to be neutralised so that a gap would remain between the two races.

Hanselmann was allowed to restart ahead of the rest of the women's field in an attempt to restore the two-minute advantage, but the break and the very cold conditions sapped Hanselmann of energy and the rest of the field eventually caught her.

"It was a bit sad for me because I was in a good mood and when the bunch sees you stopping, they just get a new motivation to catch you," Hanselmann told Cyclingnews.

"The race jury just said we had to neutralise the race because we are getting too close to the men.

"We could just see the ambulances of the men's race. I think we stopped for five or seven minutes and then it just kills your chances."

Chantal Blaak wound up winning the race. Hanselmann finished 74th.

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