Clara Koppenburg has won the overall classification at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana UCI 2.2 by 41“, sealing her first general classification victory, having taken her maiden career victory, solo, yesterday.
The stage was 104km which started in Valencia and finished in Sagunt. Elated after her victory, Clara said;
“It was tough in the last 50km, it was insane especially when the Cipollini girl, [Soraya] Paladin was attacking me like crazy, and I had to follow every attack so that she couldn’t gap me, then Ashleigh [Moolman Pasio] attacked, I knew the riders I had to follow, but they wanted to kick me out of the jersey, I could feel it.”
“The team did such a good job during the whole stage, it was so great to see that we were all committed 100%, it was an incredible feeling.”
In the sprint finish, our sprinter, Claudia Koster took 5th place, after 8th and 10th place respectively on stage 1 and 2.
“Claudia looked after herself in the sprint – we decided that if there is someone in the team who has some power left in the final, we can try to help her, but in the end it was so tough, we were all knocked on, but Claudia was able to find her way, which was great for her.”
"Lara [Vieceli] and Ane [Santesteban] and I stayed together and tried to keep me safe over the finish line, so that I wouldn’t get such a big gap from the stage winner. I’m quite scared in those hectic finals, especially when it’s so technical. It was nice to see Claudia still go for a good result. At the finish line I was still not sure if I had really won because I was affraid the gap was too big, but yeah it was super great to take this victory.”
After the sacrifice, dedication and hard work, the team won the overall team classification, Clara continued;
“To win the team classification was phenomenal, when I was on the podium alone, I was really insecure, but as soon as my team mates were on the podium with me for the team classification presentation, I felt so much better, it felt so nice to stand with them on the podium and share this victory.”
“We all worked so hard for this, and now everyone gets a prize, it’s the nicest way to start the season, and we now know we can work together as a team, as one unit. To win the team classification in almost our first race is amazing, it just shows that the team is bonding well together and that we can expect some more results this season.”
"In the first two days, we could feel we didn’t know each other, we weren’t able to find each other in the peloton that much but that’s also because it was hectic, but yesterday everything clicked, and we grew as a group and trusted each other, we improved day by day. Today it was a WNT train, we were so much better again than yesterday, if we continue improving like this, it’s going to be a good year.”
With sheer emotion, excitement and disbelief in her voice Clara added;
“It was so funny, I have to work on the champagne celebration, but I have never opened a bottle before, it was the first bottle of champagne that has ever been in my hands because I’ve never won a race until now, so Ashleigh [Moolman Pasio] had to help me out a little bit.” Laughing with a beaming smile.
The team heads to Tuscany on the 4th March for a training camp, which will include our next race on the 9th March, the first UCI Women’s World Tour race of the year, Strade Bianche.