Liv Racing made an excellent start in the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta. Pauliena Rooijakkers finished fourth after a long breakaway. Swiss rider Marlen Reusser won the first stage (118 km) of the Spanish stage race.
On the first long climb of the day, the Alto da Portela (15.2 kilometres), a breakaway of initially five riders was formed: Pauliena Rooijakkers, Marlen Reusser, Elisa Chabbey, Lucy Kennedy and Erica Magnaldi. Coryn Rivera joined them a little later. The lead of these six continued to grow. With forty kilometres to go, Kennedy and Magnaldi had to let the other four go.
Ten kilometres before the finish line, the quartet still had a lead of just over two minutes. At the front there were several attempts to break away. While Rooijakkers kept cool, particularly Chabbey and Reusser choose the attack. The Swiss eventually made the decisive move. Twenty seconds after her finish Rooijakkers sprinted to a fourth place.
“We wanted to race aggressively as a team today. Alison Jackson tried to break away early in the race, and we tried again on the climbs. When Lucy Kennedy took off, Sofia Bertizzolo tried to jump first. Then I went. When we were in the lead, I knew that this could be the decisive move. There were very strong riders around me, several strong teams were represented”, said Rooijakkers.
“On the one hand it is a pity that it turned out in a fourth place, but on the other hand I am very happy with it. Especially the way I climbed makes me happy. I was able to keep up quite easily, and also in the descents I could follow well”, said Rooijakkers, who wants to continue the successful start in the remaining stages. “Tomorrow we will go full steam ahead. I am in a good position. It would be nice if a good classification is possible.”
Photo credits: Cor Vos