Pauliena Rooijakkers: “I surprised myself today”

Pauliena Rooijakkers can look back at a successful eighth stage (91.5 kilometres) in the Giro Rosa. She was on the attack for a long time and eventually finished in seventh place. Sofia Bertizzolo finished tenth, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio twelfth. With one day to go, CCC-Liv leads the team classification and Marianne Vos has the points jersey on her shoulders. “It was a very tough day. The stage started with a descent and much wind, creating echelons. I was in the second group. Luckily, we all continued to ride well and noticed that the gap with the front riders was getting smaller. When the course went uphill again, we reconnected”, says Pauliena Rooijakkers.

“Right after the connection, I saw two riders attack. I did not hesitate and thought: I will jump as well. We rode with a nice group, most teams were represented. I therefore had high hopes that we would stay away, but the peloton did not give us much space. A shame really, because I had put my mind to today’s stage, I wanted a good result. This one had been in my head for some time.”

At the foot of the final climb, the San Marco la Catola (5.6 kilometres with an average gradient of 8.1 percent), Pauliena Rooijakkers and her fellow escapees were caught. “I then started riding at my own pace. Eventually I moved up to the front and got to the favourites for the classifications. I surprised myself. I didn’t have the strength anymore to sprint for fifth place; seventh place was the highest achievable.” Pauliena Rooijakkers is satisfied with the progress in the Giro Rosa so far. “We are doing great as a team. Pinning the red numbers gives a special feeling. We already have three stage wins. There is one more day to go tomorrow and we want to at least try to bring the team classification to our name.” Photo credits: Cor Vos