Local Basque rider Ane Santesteban and American Kristen Faulkner raced to a strong second and third place respectively today, on another hot, hard and hilly day in Navarra, with Team BikeExchange-Jayco also taking the victory in the team’s classification for the second-consecutive day.
After finishing in fourth place and sixth place in yesterday’s race, the duo knew that their legs were good and made it into the winning breakaway in the final 40km of today’s 127km Navarra Women’s Classic.
The quartet of Ewers, Benito, Santesteban and Faulkner hovered between 20 seconds to one minute ahead of a reduced chasing bunch of ten riders in the final 25km, but with teammates Ruby Roseman-Gannon and Urska Zigart behind, the squad was relaxed and confident in the race situation.
It was on the final climb of the day when the race exploded as Veronica Ewers attacked hard on the steep slopes, leaving Faulkner and Santesteban with a big chase ahead of them. The Team BikeExchange-Jayco duo gave it their all, trying to make the junction to the new solo leader in the final 10km, but along the narrow twisty roads, the time gap remained around 30 seconds.
In the end, the squad walk away with another solid podium finish and full of confidence in their condition heading into the coming Spanish races.
Ane Santesteban – 2nd place
“I think we had a really good scenario to go for the win today with myself and Kristen in the breakaway and we worked really well together but there in the end, the Education First rider was just stronger on the last climb.
Me and Kristen rode together and worked together well but it wasn’t enough in the end so of course we are a little bit disappointed, we want to win but with the way we are racing like this, the win will arrive soon.”
Alejandro Gonzales-Tablas (Sport Director)
“I think we proved one more time that we are the strongest team in these races, we have no doubt about that. We controlled the race the way we wanted, the girls did pretty much everything we wanted, we set it up how we planned for.
We had the situation we wanted to have but probably wanted a bit more co-operation from the riders in that group, so we had to take the control but at the end there was just one rider stronger than us on the climb but there was nothing we could do.
You always want the win but it is still all very positive and we are looking for more chances with the coming races we have here in Spain.”
2022 Navarra Women’s Classic Results:
1. Veronica Ewers 3:27:52
2. Ane Santesteban +0:35
3. Kristen Faulkner +0:58
Photo: Gomez Sport