Kessler sprints to top 10 at Ronde van Drenthe to close 2021 season

Kessler sprints to top 10 at Ronde van Drenthe to close 2021 season

From Lauren Stephens claiming the US road title to Kristen Faulkner exploding onto the European scene with a stage win at the Ladies Tour of Norway, Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank has enjoyed another season full of extraordinary moments and unforgettable performances.

The most recent came last weekend, when Nina Kessler sprinted into the top 10 at Ronde van Drenthe, the final Women’s World Tour race of the year.

“Drenthe is a race where you don’t know what to expect,” Kessler said. “The move can happen early in the race, or the peloton will wait until the VAM-berg. This year, it was calm until the first cobbles. After each section, the bunch stretched out a little, but it wasn’t too crazy. After the cobbles, it was still quite a big group. When we hit the VAM-Berg for the first time, however, racing was full-on. I felt really good.

“I was pretty empty in the end, but happy I could still sprint to tenth place. It was a long, hard race, but I’m really happy I finished the season with a top 10.”

Kessler’s result was the icing on the cake for Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank’s excellent year, and a fitting end to a packed road season that combined a beefed-up gravel racing schedule.

The gravel scene brought several trips to the podium, including Stephens defending her title at UNBOUND Gravel, Langley crushing Rooted Vermont, and Newsom dominating Gravel Locos in her home state.

“Overall, it’s been a great season for us with some real highs, such as Lauren’s win at the national championships, and the team’s first Women’s World Tour victory with Kristen’s stage win at the Tour of Norway,” team director Rachel Hedderman said.

The latter part of the season saw the welcome addition of Veronica Ewers, Abi Smith, and Nicole Frain to the squad. The three stagiaires rose to meet the highest level of competition with ease.

“It’s been fantastic to see Emma, Veronica, and Abi jump so successfully into their first races in Europe, and the expansion of our gravel calendar in the US shows the team’s adaptability,” Hedderman said.

“In a year that has still presented challenges due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we have had a successful season and one where we’ve continued to grow as a team, and I’m looking forward to taking the next step in the team’s journey as we move up to the World Tour next season.”