Photocredits: Sprint Cycling Agency / UAE Tour Women

UAE Tour Women, Stage 4: The Reactions

Written by: ProCycling Women
Posted 2 weeks ago

Whilst saturday’s winner was broadly anticipated, sunday’s sensation at the final stage of the UAE Tour Women was an absolute surprise: In a very, very exciting final Amber Kraak managed to shake off all of her breakaway companions and stay a bike length in front of the storming peloton to win her first stage in the Women’s WorldTour.

After the finish Pro Cycling Women spoke with the complete stage top 5 and with overall winner Lotte Kopecky.

Amber Kraak was the last rider able to join the breakaway of the day after Sophie Wright initiated a breakaway followed by fellow British rider Monica Greenwood and Uzbek-talent Margarita Misyurina. Whereas in other years multiple teams would’ve worked together to chase a breakaway all eyes were pointing at SD Worx – Protime, winner of all the three first stages, to do the work. Work they did, but it turned out to be not enough in the end. “It surprised me as well”, Kraak smiled. “I knew I was the first one on the line, I saw that. I was actually really happy that just one second later I saw them coming [past me]. Wow, this was really tight!”

The Dutch rider clearly was the strongest in the breakaway group and with 6 kilometers to go, she accelerated, cheered on by her teammates through radio communication. “When I noticed that it [the breakaway group] stopped working together I thought: ‘Now I have to go alone!’.” That is what Kraak did and she dropped all the others from the breakaway one after another. “After that it was just full gas to the finish line. “It really helped that my teammates were coaching me and that we could celebrate it together that way.” Kraak’s teammates made her believe that she could actually make it. ‘It’s possible,’ they screamed. “And if you know it’s possible you can always push a bit harder.”

"If you know it's possible you can always push a bit harder."

 

Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx – Protime)

Consequently, there was no clean sweep for Team SD Worx – Protime and no third victory for Lorena Wiebes, who also saw the other teams playing the game on the Dutch team. “We can expect that nobody wants to help us”, she said. “I think at least we as a team can be very happy as we tried everything to close the gap. Shout out to the Femkes [Markus and Gerritse] and Barbara Guarischi for the effort.”

Chiara Consonni (UAE Team ADQ)

The only team that lend a helping hand in the chase was UAE Team ADQ. The home team clearly was in search of another strong result with sprinter Chiara Consonni. After a third and a second place on the first two flat stages the Italian hoped to complete the podium collection with a first place. In the end it was the first place after the podium: fourth. “It was another chaotic day. Maybe we could’ve checked the breakaway more.” On the other hand: “We know that we have less than 50% chance of winning in a sprint with Lorena [Wiebes] so maybe they need to work more.”

Daria Pikulik (Human Powered Health)

Third on the stage was Human Powered Health’s Daria Pikulik, who saw her team improve a lot since the first stage and was well surrounded by teammates in the first part of the peloton all day. “In the first stage we had so much bad luck. The second stage was a little bit better”, she nods to not exaggerate a tenth place.

“We are totally new here. Only me from last season. I think we need some more time. Today was a really, really good job. We stayed in the front all the time and did a perfect lead-out. I stayed in the wheel of Lorena and was the only one who was not dropped from her wheel, so I’m closing in!”

Valentine Fortin (Cofidis)

Behind the Women’s WorldTour sprinting power it was Valentine Fortin scoring her best WWT-bunch sprint result so far. “I’m really happy with that. We always improve our train”, the 24 year old french rider said, before quickly correcting her last words confidently to “my train”. “It’s what I like, but it’s always stressful. To take part with the best sprinters in the world is really cool and I’m happy with that.”

Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx – Protime)

The red leaders jersey of Lotte Kopecky was never in danger on the final stage. However, one could imagine a little disappointment about the outcome of the final stage, but Kopecky doesn’t see it that way. “The feeling is really good. We won three stages, so in the end we should not be disappointed.  Today was really close and of course it’s sad that we didn’t make it with Lorena, but for the team this UAE Tour [Women] was a huge success.”

As the strongest team with three stage wins in the pocket already, Team SD Worx – Protime took matters in own hands quite early in the stage and did not get any help from others until deep in the final. “We took our responsibility and afterwards we cannot complain [about the others not helping]. We just did not make it. That’s also bike racing. That also shows how strong the girls in front were!”

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