Basque rouleur - relentlessly supported by Movistar Team-mates - notched up 3rd in Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour, her best overall result in a foreign UCI race against big international squads.
30-year-old German Kathrin Hammes (WNT) made her initial advantage into a breakaway count from Tuesday’s opening stage and defended her GC margin over six days to be crowned overall winner of the 2019 Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour (UCI 2.1), as the Movistar Team claimed its third overall podium finish of the season in an international race with a spectacular Lourdes Oyarbide.
The Basque rouleur from Egino, Álava, finished in 3rd spot in the GC, behind Hammes and Dane Pernille Mathiesen (SUN), taking charge of leadership duties for the group managed by Pablo Lastras after joining a successful break on stage one. The magnificent teamwork from Biannic, Patiño, Teruel, Rodríguez and Fournier for Oyarbide -the first winner of a UCI race for the Blues this year at the Vuelta a Burgos-, also in the 86km rolling showdown in and around Altenburg on Sunday morning, saw him shifting her usual level even on steep slopes such as the Hankaberg, last Thursday, where she finished in 10th place.
Saturday’s ITT in Meiningen gave Oyarbide a solid gap to retain a podium which sees her emulate the recent good GC results from Mavi García -2nd in the Tour de Yorkshire, 3rd in Burgos-. It’s been a great first month of stageraces for the whole Movistar Team, a streak the Blues will aim to extend at the prestigious Women’s Tour (June 10-15) and Giro Rosa (July 5-14).
In turn, Patiño, part of a nine-woman breakaway on stage six also sought by the likes of Rodríguez and Fournier, claimed a notable 6th place in Altenburg, behind world-class sprinters Elena Cecchini (CSR, 1st), Coryn Rivera (SUN, 2nd) or Jolien D’hoore (BEL, 3rd) as they anticipated the bunch including Hammes and Oyarbide.
REACTION / Lourdes Oyarbide:
“I’m so happy with this third place overall. Being a member of this team as we chase every podium in every major race this season is something I’m so proud about. Regarding yesterday’s time trial, I knew Mathiesen had been European TT champion as an under-23 rider, and it would be tough to best him on such a course – yet I didn’t expect the race leader setting such a great time and holding off Mathiesen. I’d of course liked finishing righer up in the GC, but I’m happy with the effort I did – I actually finished two minutes down on Van Dijk, who is the best time trialist in the world. I did hope I could stay on the podium, and happily, I achieved that.
“Today’s strategy was just staying away from trouble to conserve that third spot, while giving my team-mates freedom to also seek for success. We thought it could come down to a sprint finish, and so we had Roxane’s chance, yet it was up to Paula, who joined the break, to contest the win. Pablo told us he’s really satisfied with how we’ve raced here, always together. In my case, knowing that I was new to defending a good overall result, he passed on to me that serenity and courage I really needed.”
Cover picture (c): Velofocus