Following two days of racing in Spain, Équipe Paule Ka took to the start line of Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria today with high ambitions, and the team didn’t disappoint. Following a series of circuit laps, the riders had to take on two key ascents Goiuria and Garai, which were suited to the climbers in our ranks, with Clara Koppenburg showing excellent form on these ascents. The German rider took third place on the first QOM, at which point the field had thinned out significantly. The final climb provided for yet more intense competition between the climbers, which saw van Vleuten attack, and from that point ultimately go on to take the win. After being overtaken on the descent by Longo Borghini, Clara hung on in the finishing stretch for fourth place, after a close sprint against the Italian rider. Équipe Paule Ka also took the victory in the team classification today, a testament to the squad’s performance on this testing race.
After the stage, Clara reflected on her strong performance, as well as that of her teammates: “I’m very thankful for the great job that my teammates did. They allowed me to save my legs and they positioned me well on the steep climb with around 15km to go. I have to say that Elise did an amazing job up the climb, covering all the attacks. I wanted to reward my team for this incredible performance, so I gave it my all on the climb, where I was in third position for quite a long time. I was just overtaken by Longo Borghini on the descent, and was unable to catch up in the finale. However, to take fourth place behind some of the world’s best riders is a really solid result. From this performance, we can see that the team is ready to take on the next races.”
Sports Director Steven Sergeant was full of praise for the efforts of the riders today: “The team executed the plan perfectly. Unfortunately we had a bit of bad luck because we lost Mikayla Harvey in a crash with 20km to go. However, we still had enough firepower to put Clara in a very good position ahead of the climbing finale. From there on, it was all up to her, and she put in a very solid ride today. To take fourth place in such a talented field of climbers is an excellent result for her, and for the team which helped to facilitate this result. All in all, I’m very happy with the performance of the entire team today. It’s a performance which will certainly give us motivation and confidence for the upcoming races.”