Pauliena Rooijakkers delivered CANYON//SRAM Racing’s first victory of the season in dominating style today at Durango Durango Emakumeen Saria in Spain. After being desperately close on several occasions, including an overall second at Itzulia Women’s Tour last weekend, Pauliena was finally rewarded with the win. Teammates Soraya Paladin, Elise Chabbey, and Neve Bradbury finished sixth, seventh and eighth respectively, giving a victory to CANYON//SRAM Racing also in the team classification.
“I’m very happy with this win. I looked forward to this for many years and then finally, I get it, and in one of my favourite races. We are very strong with the team this season so now I hope it is a sign of a lot more wins to come this year,” said Pauliena.
An early breakaway was slowly reeled in with around 30km remaining in the race and immediately Chabbey was part of a small breakaway. Once it was caught, Soraya and Pauliena went clear with three other riders, with Soraya the only rider working on the front of the breakaway, driving the pace to set up her CANYON//SRAM Racing teammate. On the final Alto de Goiuria category 2 climb, with Soraya’s work done, Pauliena dropped her competitors one by one to go solo, maintaining the gap on the descent, and all the way to the finish line.
“Soraya did a great job today. When she came to our group she directly started riding the front. I was feeling good but you don’t really know how the other riders are feeling. I just wanted to go full gas on the last climb and see on the top who was still there. Luckily, I was alone and I could hold it until the finish line. Not only was Soraya great, but the whole team. I have to say a big thanks to everybody and the staff for keeping us cool in the heat today.”
Soraya added, “I was feeling good today. When I saw I was with Pauliena in that group I just went straight to the front. It was a perfect situation for us, I knew she was the strongest for the last climb, and I really believe in her. I tried to help her as much as I could and I’m so happy for Pauliena. She really deserves the win, but also the team. We had Alena (Amialiusik) in the car next to the Sport Director Lars (Teutenberg) and at one point she started cheering for us on the radio which gave us more motivation to go harder.”
“I am happy also about my sixth place but I’m definitely happier for the team performance, everyone was super good, also the staff! We stayed cool and it was really hot today. It was a perfect day for us,” said Soraya.