Elena Cecchini today won the final stage of the Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour with a tough sprint win ahead of Coryn Rivera (SUN) and Jolien D’hoore (Belgium national team) in Altenburg, Germany. After making the 9-rider breakaway of the day, Cecchini took her chance in the sprint and capped a successful tour for the team with Lisa Klein also winning a stage, four riders finishing in the top eleven in the individual time trial stage yesterday, and Christa Riffel finishing fourth in the general classification.
“I am very happy with the stage win because it really feels like Thüringen never disappoints!” said Cecchini after the podium ceremony.
“The break of the day went away quite early. Our team plan was that I had to save for the sprint because it was a technical, tricky, and cobbled finish, so we thought that it would be a sprint that suited me.”
“But, when the break went, I just felt I had to go in that moment and I was lucky enough that it stayed away. I had D’hoore and Rivera with me, plus Lianne Lippert (SUN) attacking on the climbs so I must say I was not really sure about the result.”
“I told myself ‘ok Elena, in the end of the day this is just a bike race, so better give it a try here and let out any fear!’ I came out of the last corner in first position and I just went really deep to the finish line. I feel very happy!”
Read below the reactions from each of the riders on their ITT stage, and their tour overall.
“I didn’t expect a tour like that. After the breakaway on the first stage we had a huge gap in GC so I got the opportunity to go for a good GC in the tour, and that was never really something I expected.”
“I was sad I could not follow on the second stage and lost some time, but my teammates believed in me and helped me to secure the 4th place in GC on the following stages. I am very, very thankful for their help and the support from the whole team.”
“I was really happy and excited about my stage win on Friday––it’s my very first time that I’ve crossed the line first as an elite rider. When I attacked Elena said ‘go full gas’. Six riders were chasing me, and the peloton was chasing them. Then two riders came across to me, but the peloton was still chasing hard and the gap was only 10 seconds. Elena said again, ‘go full gas!’ Ahhhhh, I was hurting so much! But I’m really grateful for her help at that point. It made the difference to get a gap, and really I’m so pleased to have that win. It makes me hungry for more.”
“In my ITT, I was happy that I could warm up on my TT bike, and I felt good going into the start. Ronny (Lauke) was giving some great information during the race in the radio, and I know that especially on TT days, all of our staff were working somehow even harder. I want to thank them for their efforts.”
“It wasn’t an easy course, and for sure I lost some time in the drag that continued after the main climb. In the final 5km I was feeling pretty empty but I definitely gave it my all! I’m not unhappy with third place. I’m satisfied with that result.”
“Overall, I think as the tour went on, I personally felt better and better. I didn’t have the best legs at the start but by Friday and today, my legs were feeling really good. As a team, we raced also better. I’m looking forward to the next races!”
“In the ITT course it was really hard to find a rhythm so I went with the team strategy to keep it steady in the first part and push through the second part in the down/powerful section.”
“Looking at the results I think I can be pretty satisfied with my performance. I didn’t spend so much time on my TT bike this year, so it gives me confidence for the next ITT’s.”
“I would like to thank the staff and the girls for the nice week together. We went through some up and downs, but we definitely put things together in the last three stages, and it shows what we are capable of, if we are all committed to each other,” added Cecchini.
“I’ve been spending some time on my TT bike lately, so I’m happy the ITT stage went well for me. It was a tough one to pace in general with a tough climb to start and then a long descent, some flat, some more small climbs and another descent. In general, I think I judged this quite well and was able to give everything to the finish.”
“Overall, the tour went well for me. I had a few weeks of training before this, so it was nice to get back racing with the team. I am the most satisfied with my ITT stage. For me, it shows me that my shape is good ahead of a busy month of racing in June for me.”
“It was my first ITT of the season so I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially after already four tough stages. It was hard but I’m pleased how it went.”
“I had a great time and the pleasure to learn a lot from Lisa and Elena this week. I tried to help the team as good as possible. I am happy with how it went overall.”
“Overall the tour had its ups and downs for me. I’m still rebuilding my form since my altitude camp as one of my big season goals is coming up with the OVO Energy Women’s Tour. But I can feel everything is heading in the right direction.”
“A couple days I suffered a lot. Other days I was able to help play a better role in the team’s plans. I was happy to actually feel a bit better as the race went on. Which doesn’t often happen for me in stage racing.”
“Overall though, it was really nice to help the other girls throughout the race. Whether it was just with advice or helping them physically in the race. It was awesome to see Christa step up to fight for GC. Then, to have Lisa and Elena take stage victories, I think we can overall be happy with our race!”