Lisa Klein won her first ever stage race after she took victory in the Healthy Ageing Tour general classification (GC) today in Midwolda, The Netherlands. The 22-year-old German rider finished the tour 8 seconds ahead of Ellen van Dijk (TFS) and 31 seconds ahead of today’s stage winner Kirsten Wild (WNT). Klein’s teammate, Alice Barnes finished the tour fifth on the GC.
“I’m overwhelmed and incredibly happy. I still really can’t believe it. My first victory as a professional (that wasn’t a prologue or youth jersey) and it’s a stage race win!” said an excited Klein after the podium.
After claiming the yellow leader’s jersey after a second place in yesterday’s individual time trial, Klein and her teammates were able to defend the lead in the remaining two road stages, though it wasn’t without some hairy moments.
“Today’s stage was really tough. When van Dijk attacked it was smart because she chose a moment when I was really boxed in and couldn’t immediately follow. To then get out and then start to chase with my teammates, oh, it was hard! I don’t know that I’ve ever had to dig so deep to bring back a breakaway. I was over my limit more than once today. We really worked hard to keep this jersey!” said Klein after the stage.
After crashes to both Christa Riffel and Ella Harris, on the opening stage, the team was forced to continue the tour with just four riders.
“We were a small team, but I’m really proud of my teammates. It’s the first time I’ve been in a position of wearing a leader’s jersey on the final stage and having to defend it. I have to admit, I was nervous and probably impatient at times today which wasted some energy. But, in the end, we made it!”
Read more from Klein, and the reactions from each of the riders below.
“I came into this tour with the goal of winning the ITT stage. It was ambitious, but that’s what I had in my mind. In the end, my second place there, set me up for this stage race win. I’m ecstatic!”
“We fought hard together. The victory for sure wasn’t a gift, we really had to work for it. It’s a nice reward for all the work that I’ve put in, and a big reward also to our staff. Every single thing we asked the staff to do they did, and then more. I really have to say a big thank you to them and to each of my teammates. The win makes the cold weather and the tough racing conditions here all worthwhile.”
“The tour went well for both myself and the team. I was feeling strong and was able to get stuck in on every stage. I was especially happy with my ITT which left me in a good GC position myself.”
“The racing was hard which I feel makes it more impressive that we were able to win the GC with such a young and inexperienced team.”
“I think for me personally I had some high and lows this week. In the end, I managed to get it together and give my all for Lisa in these last two days. Therefore, I’m pretty happy with my racing, and I’ll use that for some confidence going into the next races.”
“As a team, we did a good job, as we were left with only four riders after the first stage where Ella and Christa both unfortunately crashed. To then still be able to take and defend the GC, makes me proud of this team. Now we’re ready for some more success!”
“Yesterday’s afternoon stage was fast and hectic and Rotem and I really had to go deep, to control the pace and be aware of possible attacks. But, Lisa stayed safe and so it all came down to today.”
“I think I was more nervous than ever before, because I knew that the amount of support we could give would be crucial for the final outcome. Plus, before the start of today’s stage, your legs are already telling you that there’s nothing left.”
“But you grow with your challenges and that’s what we did. Going home with a GC win is an awesome feeling and a great reward for the pain of the last few days.”
Erath continued: “Personally I was positively surprised by myself. Last year the tour was a fight for survival for me and I was a little bit tense going into the race again. With last year’s experience though, I feel like I’m riding on a completely different level and felt better and more efficient every single day.”
“I go home super happy about the result for the team, my personal development and with a great memory with my teammates and the staff. Amazing days feel even better, when you take home the win.”
Harris will tomorrow have surgery on her broken collarbone suffered in a crash during the first stage of the tour.
“I’m feeling okay, though the first couple of days after the crash were probably better than they are now. Tomorrow I’ll have surgery and then soon after I’ll be able to start riding again. Most likely that’s going to start with some Zwift!”