Successful Stage Race for Anisha Vekemans in Czech Republic
It was a successful stage race in the Czech Republic for Anisha Vekemans, as rider of the Belgian national team. Saturday she got second in the fourth stage of Gracia Orlová. Anisha collected two more top ten places and in the overall classification she was seventh.
The race began last Thursday with a victory for Elena Amialiusik. Sixteen seconds later the peloton sprinted for the second place. That day Jessie Daams was fifth and Anisha Vekemans ninth. The next stage Jessie had to abandon, it was the same injury that had also forced her to abandon the Bira stage race.
The toughest stage was scheduled on Friday. The riders had to climb up to an altitude of 1000 metres. The victory went to Olena Pavlukhina, who had much advantage on her chasers. Anisha got twelfth.
Anisha Vekemans: “I suffered a lot on Friday, it was a tough stage. We had to climb high, there was even snow on the highest top. I was one of the first ten riders at the foot of the first climb. The others then started to attack one after another. I tried to follow too long, by the time we were at four kilometres from the finish I practically didn’t move anymore. In the descent I started chasing and in the end I still was able to set a good result.”
Saturday the riders had to ride a time trial of 13.5 kilometres in the morning. It was won by Anisha’s teammate, the Belgian rider Ann-Sophie Duyck. Anisha finished fourth at almost one and a half minutes. In the stage in the afternoon, short (63.4 km) but constantly going uphill, she achieved the best result of this stage race. Anisha Vekemans could step on the podium as second. Pernille Mathiesen had won with an advantage of 37 seconds.
Anisha Vekemans: “Our coach had warned us that there would be many attacks. The first twenty kilometres I felt bad. Still, I decided to move up to the front and started responding to every attack and I began to feel better. With about twenty kilometres to go I got in a breakaway. At first, we were working together really well, but suddenly that stopped and riders started attacking. The first time the rider got reeled in, but the second time everyone looked at each other. And so Mathiesen won. I made the wrong decision, I should have gone after her, but I was convinced others would solve it. I felt good at that moment, but I can’t change what happened. Then I let the others do the work and I saved energy for the final sprint. The finish area was steep and that suits me. We started sprinting early, with seven hundred metres to go. I responded to the first acceleration and I could secure that second place.”
In the last stage Anisha Vekemans finished seventh, which is also her position on GC, at 2’21”. The fifth stage was won by Marta Tagliaferro, Olena Pavlukhina was the overall winner.
Anisha Vekemans: “When the front group had two minutes lead yesterday, Ann-Sophie and I started chasing with Canyon to secure our position on GC. We came very close to the escapees, but just too late to battle for the stage win. I am very happy with my performances at Gracia Orlová. After the time trial I could make up time in the second stage of that day and that way I could finish seventh overall which makes I collect important UCI points.”
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