Marta Lach from Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling emerged victorious in a spirited sprint finish at the Festival Elsy Jacobs à Luxembourg, securing her second consecutive win in this prestigious event. The race, which spanned 106 kilometres from start to finish in Cessange, saw Lach outpace Dutch riders Scarlett Souren of VolkerWessels Pro Cycling Team and Anouska Koster from Uno-X Mobility.

The race was initially set to cover 121 kilometres, but a roadside fire led to the last lap being cut, shortening the course and adding an unexpected twist to the day’s proceedings. Despite the disruption, the race unfolded at a high pace from the start, with no rider able to break clear from the peloton early on.

Approximately 65 kilometres from the finish, several riders attempted to pull away, but none could gain a significant lead. The race dynamic changed on the second passage through Cessange, featuring a 0.2km stretch with a gradient of 9.5%. Here, Team SD Worx-Protime increased the tempo, significantly thinning the group.

In the final 30 kilometres, teams like Uno-X Mobility, Team SD Worx-Protime, and Canyon//SRAM Generation tried to break from the pack, but Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling efficiently shut down these attempts. The race decisively headed towards a sprint finish, with Uno-X Mobility making a final bid to split the race in the last ascent through Cessange, though to no avail.

As the race neared its conclusion, various teams jostled to position their sprinters. In the heated final sprint, it was Koster who led out, with Femke Gerritse (Team SD Worx-Protime) in pursuit. However, emerging strongly from behind, Lach surged past both to clinch the win, with Souren also overtaking to finish second, leaving Koster to settle for third.

(l-r) Scarlett Souren, Marta Lach & Anouska Koster

Reflecting on her win, Lach said, “The race was quite chaotic towards the end, especially with the course change. But our team was fantastic in keeping everything together, and I’m thrilled to take the victory again. It’s a special feeling to repeat success here and to do so by winning in such a dramatic fashion makes it even more satisfying.”

The unexpected course shortening did little to deter the competitors, who adapted swiftly to the altered race conditions. Lach’s performance over the weekend solidifies her reputation as a formidable competitor in the women’s peloton, particularly on challenging, undulating courses like those at the Festival Elsy Jacobs.

Festival Elsy Jacobs à Luxembourg

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Main photo credit: Bart Hazen