23-year old Clara Koppenburg soloed to her first ever victory this afternoon on the queen stage of Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, securing the team’s first road win of the 2019 season along the way.
“It was pretty tough, the girls did an amazing job, they all did a crazy lead out into the final climb. Claudia [Koster] was in a 13-rider breakaway before, which was super good for us, so I had the best position going into the climb. It was just suffering until the top, and at one point, I was able to accelerate a little bit, and saw I was in the lead, so I just kept my head down, I kept going and never looked back, then I just won.”
They say dreams do come true;
“I had a dream last night that I won my first bike race, I went to breakfast, and I told the girls – I said, ‘girls I just dreamt I won my first bike race’ and they asked if it was in a sprint or something, and I said, ‘no solo.’ I don’t know why I dreamt that, but I just can’t believe it what has happened today, I am so happy.”
“We knew we had to do a lead out into the climb. Our plan this morning was to get Claudia into the breakaway and she did it, which was really good for us. Then the other girls [Sarah Rijkes, Lara Vieceli, Aafke Soet] did a perfect lead out, on the climb we just had to see how Erica [Magnaldi], Ane [Santesteban] and I would be and to make sure we have as many of us in the front group. The plan worked perfectly.”
“I made my attack with 2km to go, but I knew the climb already because I rode it during our training camp in Calpe, I knew what to expect.”
The team won the best team on the stage, whilst Clara takes the lead in the general classification by 43” with one stage remaining. Tomorrow will see the rider’s race 104km from Valencia to Sagunt.