Stage 3 of the Emakumeen Bira on Friday saw an emotional Tayler Wiles (Trek-Segafredo) take the biggest win of her career so far when she broke away from the peloton on the penultimate climb and kept going to the finish, crowning her solo move with victory atop the steep Santa Teodosia climb.
"I am still emotional," Wiles said after the podium ceremony. "It was brutal, I had to dig so deep up the final climb. It was really hard. But I had my team in my ear, cheering me on over the radio.
"I thought about my teammates, my family, my partner Olivia, and everyone who has sacrificed so much to help me get where I was in that moment, and I just pushed as hard as I could. I am so happy. I will never forget all the finish line emotions."
Wiles' victory also was the first UCI Women's WorldTour win for Trek-Segafredo. Newly formed ahead of the 2019 season, the team had already taken eight wins in lower-category races and have now broken through on the biggest scene.
"It is a huge boost for our confidence," said Wiles. "We have been close to a lot of wins. To go first and second on the stage is incredible. I want to thank all the riders and staff; every single person at Trek was a part of this win. Our sports directors, Ina [Teutenberg] and Giorgia [Bronzini], have taught me to believe in myself, and I can’t thank them enough for that."
Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) completed the team effort by sprinting to second place from the peloton.
"The plan was to send Tayler into an attack on the second last climb. She kept a gap of around 30 seconds, and it eventually increased even though Movistar were hitting the last climb very fast," said the Italian.
"We controlled behind, and in the last 200 metres, I just went for a podium. It was an awesome day for us. We started the week looking for a stage win, and in the end, it was Tayler who got it. She is always a hard worker, sacrificing herself. Now she was rewarded, and this is the best way to give back to her."
Longo Borghini is now third overall, just 12 seconds behind race leader Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott), with Wiles in fourth place four seconds further down. The two also sit at the top of the mountains classification. The Emakumeen Bira finishes with the queen stage, 155.8km long with four difficult climbs, on Saturday.
"It is going to be a very long and hard stage," Longo Borghini said. "We will try to keep the mountains jersey for sure, and then we will see. The podium is always nice to hold."
Spratt lost time to her GC rivals on the finishing climb on Friday but stayed in the overall lead, keeping a five-second buffer to Soraya Paladin (Alé Cipollini) in second place. Once again, Spratt enjoyed the support of her teammate, Women’s WorldTour leader Annemiek van Vleuten, and with Van Vleuten now fifth overall 18 seconds back, Mitchelton-Scott have multiple cards to play on the final stage.
"When Tayler went, we didn’t panic, we just stuck to our plan and Lucy Kennedy did a great job of controlling the gap," Spratt said. "Leading into the final climb, Movistar took over the chase. Vleuty looked after me on the final climb, I’m really grateful for what she did for me there and I’m happy I am still in the leader’s jersey.
"The GC is really close, but we have two very good options with Annemiek and me, so we are confident and ready to fight."
Hear from former cyclist and human rights activist Kristen Worley on gender verification testing, testosterone, old ideologies and human rights in the latest Cyclingnews Podcast Women's Edition.