Lotta Lepisto says that she's ready to take risks in an attempt to get a result at this Sunday's Crescent Vargarda WorldTour race. Lepisto has already been on the podium this week with her Cervelo-Bigla team finishing second in the Vargarda team time trial, and she's looking to be back there in the road race.
Should it come to a bunch gallop, Lepisto has the form to challenge for the win, although she's not going to rely on it.
"I'm not afraid of anything. Last year, I went in the breakaway group, which was fun. So I know that I can also do that. I'm not always waiting to sprint, like I did in Denmark. Maybe I should have got into the break on that day, but I didn't," she told Cyclingnews, referring to the European championships where she finished eighth.
After a pause, she adds: "You have to take risks sometimes."
Lepisto took second place in last year's edition of the race behind home rider Emelia Fahlin, who returns with Wiggle-High5 this season, after making it into a late breakaway. She and the rest of the peloton will have to face an altered course in search of that win. Lepisto believes that by putting the larger loop out of the city slightly later in the race, it could force some attacks earlier than we have seen in recent editions.
"It's a little bit different to last year," she explained. "First we went straight to the big loop and then we did the local loops at the end, but now we will do some local laps before, so I think that will make the race a little different. Maybe we will see some attacks earlier this year than last year. I don't know. This race can be full of attacks, or some people are waiting for the sprint. It's an exciting race because anything can happen."
It has been a good season so far for Lepisto, taking two wins at the Classics with Dwars door Vlaanderen and Gent-Wevelgem, followed by a string of top finishes at the Festival Elsy Jacobs. A bout of illness after her spring campaign meant that she had to miss the Women's Tour, but she bounced back to take her fourth time trial and road race national championships double – it was her sixth road race title in total.
Happy with her form, she decided to take on her first Giro Rosa experience. She had been scared off by some of the tales from Giro's gone by but now was the time to bite the bullet.
"It was a nice experience because it was my first Giro ever. I had never done it before," she told Cyclingnews. "Before, I never thought that I would do the Giro. I had heard some crazy stories about the mountains and how high you are all the time, so I didn't want to do it. But, I missed the Women's Tour, so I needed to have one big stage race so I decided that I had to go there."
The latter part of the season has been strong without flashy, with second at the RideLondon Classique behind Coryn Rivera the highlight thus far. The next few weeks are all about the World Championships in Norway next month. Lepisto sprinted to third place in last year's road race in Qatar to add to the bronze she had already got in the team time trial a week earlier.
Cervelo-Bigla has shown this week that they are in a similar position to where they were last year ahead of the Worlds, and Lepisto hopes that she can kick off a run of form that takes her into the competition as strong as ever.
"My coach has told me that it's time to start training now, now is the time. So, I hope that some results will start to come," she said. "I think that it will be a classics style race. It's going to be harder [than Qatar] which I think is good for me. I think the rain and cold is also good for me.
"Of course, I would like to end up on the podium again. It's a big goal, but it's a goal for a lot of the riders. It's going to be hard to be there again, but I will try to do my best and to be in the best form of the year."