British rider Claire Steels took the first win of her professional career by striking out for a solo break at reVolta. With an early breakaway caught by the base of the final major climb, we got the fireworks that were always likely. A pre-race favourite, Steels attacked and quickly got a gap. Last year’s winner Clara Koppenburg tried gamefully to bridge across but to no avail. Instead, the German found herself comfortably ahead of the group she’d left behind and just 10″ behind Steels at the summit of the climb. With the best part of 30km to race, there was still an opportunity to close the gap.
Unfortunately, a pair of major injuries while descending at the Giro Donne in the last 2 seasons made it unlikely we’d see Koppenburg close up the gap and it steadily began to increase. From 22″ halfway down the descent at a sprint point to increasingly closer to a minute, even when the road began to flatten out. The suspense was taken out of the race as it became clear Steels was going to win but it was a popular victory nonetheless for the right in her first Women’s WorldTour season and only 4 years after turning professional. Steels is based in Mallorca and previously raced for Spanish team Sopela, so has a good knowledge of Spanish racing already.
Koppenburg rolled in second and her teammate Josie Talbot won the sprint from the group behind to get a second Cofidis rider onto the final podium. The Aussie beat out Nadia Quagliotto and Yurani Blanco, both of Laboral-Kutxa for that final spot. For Steels’ team, Israel-Premier Tech Roland, this win came at a vital time, with the team just starting to lose contact with the teams above them in the Women’s WorldTour relegation race. They’ve barely scored since finishing 10th at Ronde de Mouscron, almost 3 weeks ago.
“It’s fantastic. It’s my first win for the team, and it’s my first professional win. It’s great, I’m just really really happy. I live in Mallorca, so racing in Spain always feels like racing at home, and a good friend of mine is part of the race organisation, so it really means a lot.
It’s a really lovely race, a really nice course. It was an attritional race. There was a thinning of the group and then in the final climb when we caught the breakaway, the team had talked about a point on the climb that would be a good place to attack, and as the race panned out it worked out well.
I went and I was hoping someone would go with me, because it’s a long way to go on your own! But I looked round and I was on my own, so I committed, and hoped that it stuck.”Claire Steels
2023 reVolta result
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