Elena Cecchini sprinted to fifth place in today’s Grand Prix de Plouay in France. Elena was sprinting for the final podium spot, after two chase groups came together with six kilometres to go. The breakaway duo of Lizzie Deignan (TFS) and Elizabeth Banks (EPA) remained ahead and crossed the line in first and second respectively.
“It was a fast and chaotic race with a lot of fighting for position,” explained Elena.
“When the crash happened it caused a big split, I saw that Alena was alone in front, so I tried to get there. We both missed the next split on the climb. With only two, we had to gamble a bit in that situation and we also weren’t sure if Kasia was going to come back or not as we knew at one point she was chasing. We were lucky in the last lap that we caught the group ahead and could fight for third place.”
Elena has finished in the top ten in each of the last six editions of the UCI Women’s WorldTour race.
“I’m happy about the sprint. Plouay is always a difficult sprint to get right, but I’m glad I didn’t overthink it. I just followed my feelings, did a long sprint, and in the end, actually third place in a sprint like this is good for me. So, I’m happy about that, it’s just a shame the crash took Kasia out of contention.”
“It was very fast from the start which made it tough. I was stuck behind the big crash but was lucky not to come down. The bunch had already gone and Kasia was behind so it was a plan for me to wait to see if she needed my help although the gap was already too much and never made it back in. It’s frustrating for Kasia as she was going really well and was positioned well, but the crash happened right at the front and she had to change her bike so she couldn’t do much.”
“The race felt really nice! I was truly enjoying it and felt that my fighting spirit was there right from the start. I feel very gutted because due to another crash, I was excluded from the fight for victory! It’s very disappointing because I feel that I’m not able to show my strength and deliver a good result for the team due to these crashes.”
“Nothing happened to me, but other riders landed on my bike, breaking the handlebar and because of that I wasn’t able to quickly jump back on and start chasing the first group, I had to wait for a new bike. I rode hard afterwards but it was really just for training for next races as I couldn’t come back to the front.”
“For me personally, the race was not perfect today. I didn’t feel so fresh and I just tried to help the team much as possible. When the crash happened I was alone in front, later Elena joined. I tried to cover as many attacks as I could but we missed the numbers. Elena found her way alone in the sprint and managed to do a good sprint to get fifth.”
“The first 45km were really good. We rode well together and Lisa (Klein) made an amazing job to position us well in every crucial moment out on the big lap. Coming into the finish circuits the pace was really high on the climbs. A crash in the front brought Kasia down, left Alena alone in front, and the rest of our team was caught behind it, forcing us to chase back really hard.”
“Coming into the Côte du Moulin straight after the finish for the third time, I just couldn’t keep up with the pace anymore. Right after we were all taken out by the crash, I was worried we wouldn’t play a role in the final anymore. So, I was happy to hear that Elena sprinted to third position in the bunch sprint and with two attackers ahead, she ended up in fifth overall. After two really hard races I’m looking forward to some rest now, and some stage racing next month.”