Pauliena Rooijakkers finished fourth in today’s Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenges. The new race on the calendar climbed Col de la Madeleine, Col de la Gabelle and finished at the summit of Mont Ventoux, from the Sault side.
Neve Bradbury represented the team in the main breakaway of the day and pushed hard on the initial slopes of Mont Ventoux to ride away solo before being caught by the small peloton at 10km to go. Pauliena and teammate Elise Chabbey remained in the lead group. Pauliena attacked with 3km to go, but couldn’t match the counterattack from race winner Marta Cavalli (FDJ). Elise crossed the line in sixth.
“It was very good that our team didn’t have to chase the breakaway. Neve is a strong climber so if they had given her a bigger time gap she would have gone a long way to actually winning,” said Pauliena.
“I didn’t really know my shape after having Covid-19 last month, so I was waiting until the steeper part of the climb. There, I tried to accelerate. After my move, Cavalli directly attacked and I didn’t have the shape to follow her. I’m confident that I will be able to build my shape in the next weeks and am looking forward to the races in July!”
For Ella Harris, her first race since breaking her acetabulum three months ago, it was a satisfying return to the peloton.
“It was okay. I didn’t have too much power at my disposal and felt already rather cooked at the 40km mark, but I did what I could to be of use to the team. It confirmed that I can still ride in a bunch. I think it would be a nice race to come back to when you’re in top shape,” said Ella.