The final day of racing at Festival Elsy Jacobs saw the bunch take on two separate loops around the town of Garnich, with the latter circuit featuring two punchy climbs. From the flag drop the racing was on with numerous attacks before a solo rider was able to escape and build up a lead. With all Team DSM riders in the peloton, focus switched to conserving as much energy as possible for the tough finale.
Into the last 40 kilometres and the breakaway was caught and an infernal pace was set on the climb, with Juliette Labous making it into the front group of 18 that escaped. Second on GC, Leah Kirchmann was in the chase group behind, but the experienced Canadian didn’t panic and rode within her limits and eventually heading onto the last lap the race was all back together, with the two groups joining up. Despite some more attacks, which Labous covered well, the stage was decided in a reduced bunch sprint finish with Kirchmann and Labous getting up well for seventh and eighth place respectively. Those results see Kirchmann secure second on GC for the team, with Labous making it a double top ten in tenth place after three intense days of racing in Luxembourg.
“Today was a tough fought race and I’m glad that I could finish off the weekend with second place on GC!” expressed Kirchmann after the stage. “It was quite an aggressive stage since the overall was still within seconds. The race really exploded on the local laps, and unfortunately I ended up in the second group. Juliette rode really strong to represent the team in the front group. There were some moments that I thought the race might be done, but I didn’t give up fighting, and we finally made contact going into the final lap. In the sprint, I chose to follow Norsgaard, but didn’t have the legs in the end to place better. Overall, I think we can be happy with what we accomplished as a team this week.
Team DSM coach Albert Timmer added: “It was a hard day of racing again. We lost Lorena due to the crash of yesterday, but we had a really strong Juliette in the front that covered all of the breaks, and that was really impressive. Leah didn’t have her best day in the group behind but dug deep and managed to comeback which saw her finish on the GC podium which was a good result. I have to say we can look back on a good couple of days where we really showed nice teamwork and picked up some good results with the win, several top stage places and the GC podium.”
Stage General classification Points classification Youth classification Mountains classification Teams classification
|CONFALONIERI Maria Giulia
|Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling