Women’s Tour: Mini Interviews

Gordon Wiseman has been mingling with riders, managers and ViPs at the Women’s Tour to get some mini interviews on the race

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Women’s Tour: Mini Interviews
from – Gordon Wiseman

Hans Timmermans – DS, Team Sunweb (they have the race leader Coryn Rivera)
“I think we do what we’ve been doing so far every day, to hunt for bonus seconds, look to win the stage and to control the stage for Coryn. So far, especially yesterday, was a hard day but we’re doing a good job and the riders are strong. We knew that already from our last race at Thuringen when we were super-strong. Tomorrow of course is going to be challenging because the climbs are that bit longer in Wales but I’m still confident that we can make it.

“The morale in the team at dinner is also super-strong, even better than we’d expected. For example, two days ago we had a four-hour transfer after the day’s racing and I was really curious about how they’d deal with that, being so tired, but they were like, really, really relaxed and that comes from them being so confidant.

“This race has been on a high level since it first started and they’ve made steps every year again. I’m really impressed by this race and just how far it can grow and it should be an example to other organisations that it is possible to put on such a high-quality race. And the crowds here are just amazing. To me this is the most prestigious stage race on the women’s calendar and our girls prepare for and race on that basis.

“In terms of progress and the parcours, to me the race is nicer than last year but it’s only the riders who will make the race and, again, our girls race in that way. There’s lots of narrow roads and that can make it difficult to attack but many of the teams come along with sprints and maybe that’s why attacking can be difficult.

“To me the race is important enough for our riders to plan their training around being ready just for this race. For example, take Coryn. She has three peak periods in her year when we try to have her in top shape. Around Flanders of course – unfortunately for this year she was sick then – then when she came back from California she wasn’t in top shape but the Women’s Tour, we said that’s going to be important for you. And then August will be important for her so after this race she goes back to California for a month. That shows how much we want her to be ready for a race as important as this.

“It’s the same with Ellen’ – van Dijk – ‘with this race and in combination with the National TT at the end of the month, that’s a good combination to really sharpen her form even though she’s in good shape already. And that’s why a race like this is in a perfect place”.
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Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) – race leader
On who was particularly aggressive as the race moved into the final kilometres (stage 3): “A bit of everybody. Boels Dolmans were really trying to go and Canyon was trying to go. There was the last little rise with 5km to go and Kasia’ – Niewiadoma – ‘went pretty strong over that one”.

Who Coryn fears: “For sure, them all. They were all trying to make it hard for us and I think they’ll continue to do that”.

The last 400m of stage 3: “It was an interesting finish, I didn’t expect it to be that long. It was kind of uphill until we did that left’ – into Newbold Terrace – ‘and then there was a lot of speed coming into the line and so not much changing of position”.

Not having raced over the stage as many had who’d raced in 2017: “I can only trust everything I hear about the finish when I haven’t done it before. It doesn’t faze me that much, the whole week, everything is new to me. So I just take it as it is and have trust in the plan”

Dealing with the pressure of being race leader and being the one everybody is trying to beat: “It’s pretty special. I kind of don’t really see myself as a GC rider so it’s a different mind-set I have to put in my head. It’s really special to be wearing it and have all the girls believe in me and ride for me. So, quite some responsibility but really cool to be recognised like that”.

Having ridden in the UK a few years ago (in 2013 riding the Tour Series for Breast Cancer Care) “Even back then it was always a dream of mine to race at the very top level of the sport. It wasn’t going to happen overnight so from 2013 I’ve made some steps year by year. In that year I was kind of coming back as I’d been thinking about doing something else and I was focussing on school as well. And then I started getting into racing again and doing that year in the Tour Series I thought, ‘yeah, if I really want to do to come back and do cycling I wanted to do it 100%’. So I figured I’d come to Europe, do some racing. The team had a house in Ronse which meant we were near the Flanders course so we’d train around there and really had a lot of fun. I got some results, some top 5’s, some top 10s, so I thought about setting out a plan to get me to where I am today. I wouldn’t change a thing and what I did then is a big part of what I’m doing today”.
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Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-Scott) – stage 3 winner

How tough was that stage? “Courses here aren’t easy. There’s a lot of rolling hills, the terrain is either up or down, left then right. It’s quite stressful racing. It’s good racing but it really takes it out of your legs. All up it was a tough race today, it was over 150kms which is a big one for us and it was raced hard so it was a solid day out there. It definitely took the edge off a couple of riders and it really hurt my legs for sure. But I was really looked after by my three team-mates who were up there. After those two climbs they were amazing, covering all of those attacks so we were really represented up there”.

This year’s stage 3 following the same parcours as in 2017 “It’s really important to have knowledge of the course, especially the final couple of kilometres. Any important parts of the race we try to research beforehand. We talk about it a lot and we look at it on google street view. We were really well researched today so I knew what was coming up and I think that helped”

Who was particularly aggressive on stage 3 “I think the Canyon girls threw in a lot of bombs today. But everybody, all the teams, everyone was having a crack and that made it really exciting but also really tough. Everyone was making it a good race out there today”.

Whether the team having already won a stage prior to today takes the pressure off: “I think so. I think it was really important for us and for Jolien to come back in such a strong way. As you know she broke a collar bone just three weeks ago and she probably didn’t even know how she was going to go. As she said, she hadn’t even done a sprint in training so to have come here and done that. For us to back her in the way that we did, we’re so proud of her for trusting us and for giving it a go and pulling it off like that is incredible”.

Chris Parsons – Mayor of Pershore
“The Vale of Evesham is a lovely part of the countryside and I think it’s so important for these types of events to be held here. I’ll be leaving here straight after the start to shoot back to Pershore to see the race – and I’m sure it’ll be a case of ‘now you see them – now you don’t’ – but even so it’s important.

Throughout the summer season, here in Evesham as well as in Pershore and all the neighbouring area, there’ll be something going on and it’s important that events like this are included in our social calendar. We’ve got carnivals, we’ve got festivals, plum fairs and this just fits into our calendar as much as those types of events. A race of this size brings people into Pershore and that’s most important for people like the local traders who’ll all benefit.

“And there’s the health benefits of getting people to see others out on bikes and then getting out on their bikes themselves. I’ve even started riding my bike again. Even when you’re later in life, being fit and keeping fit is important and cycling helps you do just that”.


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