Consonni sprints to victory in Flanders Diamond Tour

Chiara Consonni clinched her third victory of the season at the SPAR Flanders Diamond Tour, outpacing Anniina Ahtosalo and Kathrin Schweinberger in a thrilling sprint finish in Nijlen, Belgium. The 24-year-old UAE Team ADQ rider demonstrated her sprinting prowess over the 137-kilometre race, which featured ten local laps and 22 cobbled sections.

The race, contested on a flat circuit around Nijlen, saw intense action from the start, especially in the absence of record-holder Julie de Wilde and SD Worx-Protime. This opened opportunities for other competitors. Consonni, a clear favourite, faced tough competition from the Austrian Schweinberger sisters and Lidl-Trek’s Lucinda Brand, among others.

Consonni’s team executed a perfect lead-out, with Federica Venturelli and Lara Gillespie playing crucial roles in controlling the race and setting up the final sprint. Reflecting on the race, Consonni stated, “I thought it would be a more relaxed race, but it wasn’t at all because Lidl-Trek and EF kept attacking all day. About halfway through, a large group of thirty riders broke away. We had three riders in the front: Lara Gillespie and Federica Venturelli did an amazing job by shutting down all the attacks and guiding me in the final sprint. Besides the satisfaction of the victory, I am very proud of my teammates; everyone did a great job.”

Sport director Cherie Pridham praised the team’s effort, saying, “With today’s splendid result, we conclude an excellent weekend here in Belgium. The team rode very well together, always according to our plan, with a strong and disciplined trio in the leading group. Special mention goes to Venturelli and Lara, who put Consonni in the best position to secure the victory.”

Meanwhile, 20-year-old Nienke Veenhoven narrowly missed the podium, finishing fourth after an intense 130-kilometre battle. Jos van Emden, her sport director, expressed satisfaction with her progress: “Nienke is developing well and getting closer to victory every race. It goes with small steps, but she makes progress every time. Before, she was not always able to get involved in the sprint, but in the last races, she is doing a lot better. It’s nice to see this development.”

Van Emden also reflected positively on the team’s performance over the weekend, noting, “After we already had a very good race yesterday, the riders showed their best side again today. We were with four riders in the leading group, and in the end, we were able to compete with Nienke for the victory. But most importantly, we showed ourselves and rode well in both races.”

2024 Flanders Diamond Tour result

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Main photo credit: Sprint Cycling Agency