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Lauren Hall takes crafty win in hard-fought Gent-Wevelgem

GENT, Belgium (VN) — Lauren Hall (Optum Kelly Benefits) kicked to victory in an attack-riddled finale to win the women’s Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday.

Hall, 35, outfoxed an eight-rider breakaway, dashing ahead of Janneke Ensing (Boels-Dolmans) and Vera Koedooder (Bigla) to claim the flowers in the 115km race, held ahead of the men’s event in Belgium.

Hall, riding with the U.S. national team, made the selection when the race split on the penultimate climb with 35km to go. About 25 riders pulled clear, a group that quickly dissolved to eight, who then collaborated to carve out a race-winning two-minute lead.

The group began attacking with 5km to go, and Hall patiently marked the accelerations, biding her time for the final sprint. Ensing went first, drawing out Koedooder and Hall, who made easy work to claim the victory.

This was the first year that the race was a UCI-ranked race since its founding in 2012. Race officials are hoping to make the leg part of the Women’s World Cup, but right now, the race conflicts with the Trofeo Melinda World Cup stop, also held Sunday in Italy.