Looking back, I think that overall this has been the best season of my career yet. The classics went pretty well, even if a lot of them were new to me. I did Gent-Wevelgem and Flanders for the first time which was a really nice experience. When it comes to highlights, I would name Dwaars door Vlaanderen, where I finished in fourth and got the chance to sprint for the win. That was a really nice opportunity and the first time that I’ve gone for the win at that level. And then I have to mention Paris-Roubaix. Getting that top result there, a top 10, was something that I really didn’t expect before the race and it’s a race that I definitely would like to target in the future.
Recently I had the chance to do some races on home ground with RideLondon and the Women’s Tour, which was definitely really special to me. To wear the national champions jersey for a whole year was really cool, but even more so being in the UK; wearing that jersey on home soil and having that extra support was really nice. My dad came to RideLondon and we also had some more family who came to a few more stages at the Women’s Tour. Stage three was also all of my local training roads, so I had a lot of people cheering for me there which was really cool!
Last weekend I finished the block of home races with the national road race championships. It was really crazy weather with storms and heavy rain all day, which I actually enjoyed and I think it made the race a bit more exciting. It is always hard being a solo rider at nationals, because you have to pick where you use your energy and you obviously can’t follow every move or chase everything. When Alice attacked, it was more of the case of just trying to reduce the group and use the small climb on the local lap to try to make an attack and make the group even smaller. The gap eventually went too big and while we worked really hard to catch her back, it wasn’t possible anymore. In the end I was quite disappointed because I felt quite good and really fought to retain the title, but I was second in the end.
Looking back on the first part of the season, I feel being able to do all those classics has really brought me on the next level physically. I am still quite young, so I also had the chance to how those races unfold and could develop in my captain role. This is the first full season were I take on this role, so I am still learning in that aspect as well.
Now I am just on my way to Girona for a training block to prepare for the last part of the season. I hope to make the selection for the first Tour de France Femmes and it would be great to be selected for the World Championships at the end of the year, so I am motivated to have a nice training block towards these goals.
Enjoy the nice weather and the Summer!