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“One of the best days I’ve had on the bike”

Maike van der Duin rode to one place better than yesterday in today’s hectic second stage of the Tour de France Femme, as wind and crashes were the focal points in the race. With a performance well beyond her tender age, Maike anticipated an attack with 27km to go and broke away from the peloton on her own, managing to create a gap of above 40 seconds at one point. Maike broke down how the attack played out.

“It was crazy. It was really nervous with the echelons in the bunch. After the earlier breakaway, everything came back together and at that moment it was quite relaxed on the narrow roads so I talked with my teammates and I asked ‘Can I go for that attack?’ As for today, we had decided that we are not going for the sprint points.

“So I went and I had in my head like, ‘Okay, hopefully, I can keep the gap over the climb’, and I knew that the chasers were going to go full gas over it and after it so I fully went also.”

The chasing group turned out to be made up of multiple world champions and Olympic medallists, including Marianne Vos, Elisa Longo Borghini, and Elisa Balsamo. They managed to bridge to Maike, but she held her own into the finale, riding tactfully.

As Maike worked hard in the breakaway, the rest of the peloton saw multiple crashes, with both Eva and Gladys involved. Majo’s role changed to keeping Lizzie safe not just from crashes but in the echelons, as the open exposed roads threw some tough crosswinds at the riders.

“Mainly everyone was expecting echelons but no one really committed to it so it stayed together and just got really hectic. But actually, it was quite nice and easy until the point that Maike got in the break. She anticipated an attack and the girl she anticipated was going to attack crashed so she got into a break on her own, solo.

“When she did that actually for us it was really nice but after that, it got really hectic with a lot of crashes, and we [the team] got caught up in a crash. Lizzie and I got lucky, we were on the right side at the right time, but then for me, the focus was to keep Lizzie safe to make sure in the echelons she was in the right positions and that she didn’t need to work too hard”.

As the breakaway made their way up the ascent into Provins for the second and final time, multiple attacks left Maike isolated, but she fought hard and finished fifth, maintaining her position as the wearer of the maillot blanc and was awarded the combativity prize – keeping it in the team for the second day in a row.

“It was the first time that I competed in the final with these riders, and it’s insane”, continued Maike. “This may be one of the best days I’ve had on the bike.”

At 20 years old, we’re sure Maike will have plenty more days to look forward to at the sharp end of the race. Holding your own against WorldTour riders takes more than just power, she rode tactfully and once again helped the team to animate the race.

The third stage is an introduction to the hillier days this week, with 1418 metres of climbing in store.

Make sure to watch it live on GCN+ with a free pass courtesy of the team here.

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