Women's Cycling Race Forced to Pause After Female Cyclist Catches Up to Men's Riders  

Nicole Hanselmann got an impressive lead during the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad race, but ended up coming in 74th place after the women's race was forced to halt

13th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2019 - Women
Photo: Luc Claessen/Getty

Speed racer!

Swiss cyclist Nicole Hanselmann had such an impressive lead during the annual Omloop Het Nieuwsblad race this weekend that the female rider ended up catching up with the male contestants — which prompted the women’s race to temporarily come to a halt.

During the beginning of the Belgium race, Hanselmann, 27, managed to pull away from the pack with an early lead of almost two minutes, according to Cyclingnews.

However, her impressive performance was cut short when the former Switzerland road champion caught up to the support vehicles for the men’s race, which had kicked off 10 minutes before the women’s race. Officials then ordered the entire women’s race to stop in order to restore enough of a gap between the two competitions, according to The Guardian.

At the time, the race’s official Twitter account posted a statement online, explaining that the women’s race was being neutralized “due to a very slow mens race.”

According to CNN, the race was stopped for five minutes.

Although Hanselmann was given a headstart when the women’s race resumed — in accordance to the lead she had on her fellow riders at the time the race was paused — the cyclist didn’t end up winning the top prize.

Instead, Hanselmann finished in 74th place, with Dutch cyclist Chantal Blaak winning.

13th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2019 - Women
Nicole Hanselmann. Luc Claessen/Getty
13th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2019 - Women
Nicole Hanselmann. Luc Claessen/Getty

Following the race, Hanselmann addressed the “awkward” halt in an Instagram post, as she cast some playful shade towards the male competitors.

“Today was the first spring classic in Belgium. I attacked after 7km, and was alone in the break for around 30km…but then a[n] awkward moment happend [sic] and I almost saw the back of the men’s peleton,” she wrote, alongside a smiling shot of herself from the race.

“May[be] the other women and me were to [sic] fast or the men to [sic] slow,” she continued.

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Speaking of the moment to Cyclingnews, Hanselmann admitted that having to pause the race “was a bit sad for me.”

“I was in good mood and when the bunch sees you stopping, they just get a new motivation to catch you,” she shared, adding that the stop killed her chances.

However, even though things didn’t turn out the way she hoped, the athlete still feels proud of the way she raced on Saturday.

“I got the gap again to start with on my own and I was just stood ten metres ahead of the bunch waiting and I got the gap again and then they caught me,” she told the outlet.

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