Team BikeExchange wrapped up the seven-day Tour de l’Ardèche today with two special trips to the podium thanks to Ane Santesteban, who cemented her position in the general classification, taking a well-deserved third place overall after finishing fifth on the stage and Lucy Kennedy, who made it into the winning breakaway before fighting to a special third place.
For the Australian climber Kennedy, it was an emotional and memorable day as she headed to the podium to mark the end of her professional cycling career. The 33-year-old put herself in position to try for the stage victory, but it was Lucinda Brand who stole the show, leaving Kennedy and the third breakaway rider, Korevaar, on the descent and heading away for a solo win.
Behind, Santesteban marked her GC rivals and finished the short 81.5km stage into Privas in a respectable fifth place, demonstrating her top form with consistent riding all week, which included four top-ten stage placings.
Following on from Teniel Campbell’s stage six victory yesterday, Team BikeExchange walk away pleased with the performance and were also awarded the victory in the teams classification which highlights their resilience and great teamwork all-round throughout the seven day race.
Lucy Kennedy – 3rd place on stage 7
“I was determined to have a crack at the stage today to go out on a high. It wasn’t quite the fairytale finish, but I fought as hard as I could and am happy with a podium.
The atmosphere this whole week has been really special, amongst all the riders and staff. It was one of the most complete and cohesive team efforts I’ve been a part of and we achieved some great results to reflect this.
We overcame the huge challenge of the bikes being stolen and came out of it in a really positive way. The whole week has cemented what a wonderful team I’ve been lucky to be a part of for the last four years.”
Ane Santesteban – 3rd place overall
“I am really happy with all of this week. I felt really good on the bike and I tried today on the last climb to the finish but it was not enough to get away. In the end, I am really happy and proud of how the team rode all week. It was also super nice having Lucy in the front today in what is her last race of her career.
It was a super good week for us all with third place on GC, one stage win and the team classification. I think we have achieved all of our goals, so we can be very proud.”
2021 Tour de l’Archèche – Stage 7 Results:
1. Lucinda Brand 2:21:44
2. Jeanne Korevaar +0:48
3. Lucy Kennedy (Team BikeExchange) +1:06
Tour de l’Ardèche – Final General Classification:
1. Leah Thomas 23:18:13
2. Mavi Garcia +0:09
3. Ane Santesteban (Team BikeExchange) +0:09