Women's cycling event paused after the leader catches up with men's race

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The featured women's race at a cycling event in Belgium was stopped after the lead rider remarkably caught up with the men's race, which started 10 minutes before on the same course.

Nicole Hanselmann from Switzerland was forced to stop as she neared the men's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad race on Saturday, as the officials wanted to 'neutralize' the gap between the two races. 

The 27-year-old had done brilliantly to gain a two-minute lead just 30km into the 120km race by the time she had found herself not too far behind the male race.

Once the race resumed, Hanselmann was given a small head start over her fellow competitors in an attempt to regain the time advantage she held.

But the stoppage completely scuppered her chances of victory and she eventually crossed the finish line in 74th place.

“We came too close to the men’s so we had to get a neutral time gap again," Hanselmann told CyclingNews: "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.

"The race jury just said we had to neutralize the race because we are getting too close to the men.” 

The cyclist also took to Instagram to express her disappointment after the controversial decision by the officials.

"Today was the first spring classic in Belgium. I attacked after 7km, and was alone in the break for around 30km...but then a awkward moment happend and I almost saw the back of the men's peloton... May the other women and me were to fast or the men to slow🙈"

“I got the gap again to start with on my own and I just stood 10 metres ahead of the bunch waiting,” Hanselmann added.

“I got the gap again and then they caught me at the end of the first cobbled section.”

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