Tanja Erath, winner of the 2017 CANYON//SRAM Zwift Academy tells us what it was like racing the five-day six-stage Healthy Ageing Tour last week:
“It was a really tough race for me. It was what I would say my first ‘real’ race this season after my crash early on in Setmana Ciclista Valenciana stage race in February. Furthermore it was my first stage race and the first time getting to know the Dutch crosswinds.
I can say that I loved every painful minute of it, even if it felt more like fighting than cycling.
I didn’t expect that the races were ‘done’ so early each stage. It felt like five seconds after the neutral section and the peloton already broke into several pieces and the lead for the day was formed.
The positives that I can take are that I saw small improvements every day. I’ve seen firsthand that Dutch conditions don’t forgive any positioning mistakes. Concentration is required from start to finish.
I would say the biggest learning curve I experienced was how to avoid the wind. The more I had to invest in the beginning of every stage, the more the pain in my legs makes you search for the slipstreams.
I still have to improve on positioning, investing less at times to conserve energy, and then be able to invest more at the right time to support my teammates. So far I was going all out to be where I should be and where I wanted to be, but the success was not really measurable. But I can say that I loved every painful minute of the tour.”