After the prologue on Tuesday, Alena Amialiusik said she needed two days to get some “race speed” in her legs and then she would be good. True to her word, the super domestique overcame the pain of a crash yesterday to show her form by winning stage two of Lotto Belgium Tour today in Galmaarden, Belgium.
“I am so happy! This win is so important for me because I’ve had such bad luck so often, and now for another time I’ve come back from an injury. I’ve trained hard and the win gives me a lot of confidence and proves again that hard work pays off and is worth it,” said a delighted Alena.
Alena said the team had planned an aggressive race and paid thanks to her teammates.
“We knew the stage was technical so that meant it was going to be raced hard. The team tried many times to make the race happen. It also gave me a lot of motivation when it came to the final kilometres and it was my turn to try. I felt okay with my legs after my crash yesterday, but I had a lot of sore muscles in my neck and also some pain in my hand. I just tried to not concentrate on it, and kept bringing my focus back to the race,” added Alena.
Teammate Alice Barnes was in a formidable four-rider breakaway with around 60 kilometres to race. After one rider dropped, one rider punctured, and her remaining breakaway partner also had a mishap, Alice was left solo ahead of a peloton that was chasing hard. The British road champion was reeled in with 18 kilometres to go, allowing teammate Hannah Ludwig to try her own fortunes with a strong attack. When Hannah was caught, Alena was ready to pounce, attacking by then a small peloton on the final climb to create a five-rider move.
“I was in a great position on the cobblestones before the climb and it made it easy to attack. Soon after we had a gap the finish line was already coming fast.”
“I just decided at that moment that I have to do something. I was out of GC contention because of yesterday’s crash and it was clear I didn’t have a chance in a sprint. I attacked just under three kilometres to go and it worked so well! Lars (Teutenberg) was supporting us in the radio all day long, but in the last kilometre he gave me a lot of extra motivation. It was such a nice feeling with my teammates and our staff after the finish today. I’m so happy,” repeated Alena.
Alice’s solo effort meant she dropped out of the overall contention, but Alena takes her place at fifth in the general classification.
Racing action from tomorrow’s final stage around Geraardsbergen starts at 12:30CEST and can be followed on Twitter with #LottoBelgiumTour. The live broadcast on GCN, Eurosport or on the website livestream starts at 13:45CEST which should allow fans to see the peloton take on three ascents of the famous Muur van Geraardsbergen climb.