Stage six of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift turned out to be a historic day for AG Insurance-NXTG. Julia Borgström took the lead in the young rider’s classification. For a team aiming at the development of young riders this is the best testimony that our philosophy works.
“It was definitely a fight but we thought this was the day to go all or nothing for this jersey and it worked,” Julian beamed at the finish in her white jersey. “I only realized a couple of minutes after the finish that I made it. There was excitement, joy and a feeling of being overwhelmed as well.”
“It was such a hectic day,” sports director Jolien D’hoore tells the story of the day. “Ilse had a flat tire and it took quite some time to chase back. By then that large breakaway was gone and we missed it. But despite that everyone felt good.
Anya was communicating perfectly with us via race radio and Lone and Ilse were well positioned around Julia. Julia herself was very quiet and I know that’s a good sign. When she doesn’t feel good, she tells us. When she is quiet, we know she feels good.
This means the world to us. We are the youngest team here and the white jersey was our very ambitious goal. Knowing that we ticked off that box makes me even a bit emotional,” D’hoore concluded.
Team founder Natascha den Ouden was equally proud witnessing this historic day. Julia Borgström joined the team three years ago from the junior ranks and has grown with the team. Her white jersey shows that the development philosophy set out by AG Insurance-NXTG works.
“We had so much bad luck at the start of this race [with Gaia Masetti and Ally Wollaston crashing out]. We really needed this,” says Den Ouden.
We have been working so hard for this project. This white jersey shows that our vision and philosophy to let young talent grow slowly, to give them a race schedule that fits their age and development and to let them make mistakes, works. We allow our riders to grow as people and as riders.
Now we see the result of our vision in this white jersey for Julia. It all comes together in this white jersey in the biggest race of the year. That makes me very proud of all our riders and the staff.”
There are two more stages left in this Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. They are hard mountain stages in the Vosges region with a very steep finale on the Super Planche des Belles Filles on Sunday.
The ambitions were high in the team and they remain high for the days to follow. Julia now has a lead of 14 seconds on Julie De Wilde, 1 minute 35 on Mischa Bredewold, 1 minute 38 on Shirin van Anrooij and 2 minutes 30 on Pfeiffer Georgi. The rest of the young riders are over ten minutes down in the classification.
“I do not know if I can keep the jersey but I will sure give my everything. I know the last climbs are crazy hard but I can only go for it. There is no other option.” Julia smiled.
During our first Tour de France Femmes, our team is followed by HLN (Het Laatste Nieuws). We showed them how we prepare for such a big race and give our fans a special glimpse of our team like you’ve never seen us before.
Together with HLN we will launch a short video every day at our YouTube channel. Go watch it!