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Stage 1 winner Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon)
American back with Specialized-lululemon after racing with national team
Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon) is looking to take her recent run of good form into this week’s Open de Suède Vargarda TTT, part of the women's World Cup series.
The American finished third overall at last week’s Route de France Féminine and although the 2012 champion missed out on the overall prize she is determined to capitalize on her condition with a number of key races on the horizon.
With her trade team skipping La Route de France, Stevens linked up with the US national squad. It was situation the American enjoyed, having made her European debut at the same race, and with the same team, back in 2009.
“La Route was good. It was a nice experience to race with the national team. Lululemon did Thüringen and the Giro so weren’t racing La Route. The parcours weren’t that challenging but the racing was quite hard. It’s probably hard to see that from the results but all the team definitely gave it a go until the finish,” she told Cyclingnews.
The race was dominated by the Wiggle-Honda team, who won all but one stage and sealed the overall through Linda Villumsen. The New Zealand rider attacked on the final stage, bridging up to Stevens before dropping her on a key descent.
“It was still impressive to see Bronzini win so many stages and then Wiggle taking the race at the end. It was aggressive racing most of the week. Because it was so close after the prologue you couldn’t really let anyone go up the road. Everyone was in GC contention and that made for aggressive racing.”
“It’s a lovely race though. It’s the third year I’ve done it, and the peloton are grateful to have it.”
After a crash earlier in the season Stevens is starting to find her feet and the Open de Suède Vargarda TTT marks another busy period of racing in the women’s calendar. After the TTT there’s a road race on Sunday and Stevens also has one eye on the Worlds later this year. In 2012 she picked up gold in the inaugural trade team time trial, and a silver in the individual time trial.
“My form is moving in the right direction. With having the crash this spring, it’s been a bit of an up and down year but I think that’s what sport is and you’ll never have it go exactly how you want it. I’ve found that this year I’ve had to be more attentive to what works and what doesn’t work. That’s what makes you better. I hope that makes me better. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway,” she told Cyclingnews.
“The team time trial is a major highlight of the season,” she said, pointing to Friday's team time trial event.
“Our team has some of the best equipment, the best riders and I love the team time trial. It’s a beautiful event. It’s not about who is really the strongest, you have to work as a team and you have to master all your strengths and weaknesses. We’ve been here a little bit earlier, working on some of the tactics and skills. There are a lot of good teams out there so it’s going to be really interesting.”