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Female cyclist forced to stop after catching up to men during Belgium race


Nicole Hanselmann of Switzerland during the 13th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2019. (Luc Claessen / Getty Images)

They say behind every great man, there is a great woman — just don’t get too close.

Swiss cyclist Nicole Hanselmann was forced to stop in the prestigious Omloop Het Nieuwsblad race after she had nearly caught up with her male counterparts on Saturday.

Hanselmann broke away from the female group around 18 miles into the 75-mile race in Belgium.

She soon started to see the men in the competition, who started about 10 minutes before the women.

But officials forced her, and the entire women’s race, to stop to allow the men to get farther ahead.

The racing event’s Twitter said they halted the women at a railroad crossing “due to a very slow mens race.” Organizers said in a statement Monday they stopped the race for “safety reasons.”

“In normal conditions, the men ride faster than the women and the gap gradually increases. This year, however, the men were slower than usual in the beginning of the race, with a speed below 30km/h at times,” the statement read. “This circumstance caused a decreasing gap between the women’s and the men’s convoy. After 30 km, and for safety reasons, the organization had to intervene because the leader of the women’s race was getting too close to the convoy of the men’s race.”

Hanselmann called it “an awkward moment.”

“[Maybe] the other women and me were [too] fast or the men [too] slow,” she wrote on Instagram.

The 27-year-old was given a head start when things kicked back off, but she lost her mojo.

“We came too close to the men’s so we had to get a neutral time gap again so 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, the former Swiss national champion, told Cycling News.

“I think we stopped for five or seven minutes, and then it just kills your chances,” she added.

The former Switzerland road champion ended up coming in 74th place.