Lisa Brennauer became only the second rider to win back to back Lotto Thuringen Ladies Tours after successfully defending her title in a tense final time trial. Brennauer held off a concerted challenge from former teammate Ellen van Dijk (Team Sunweb) to win the overall classification by five seconds.
Brennauer, who joined Wiggle High5 from Canyon-SRAM over the winter, has enjoyed a very consistent week, finishing in the top three on all but one of the stages and winning stage 4 into Gera, ahead of Van Dijk. The win marked Brennauer’s first in the colours of her new team after coming close in the last month.
"I had a really good day on the bike. It was really cool. In the time trial, I felt already on the bike that it’s going well today, and I’m going quite fast," Brennauer said in a team press release. "Actually, I'm still a bit speechless, but it was just a great week and a great week of teamwork. This also sums up the week in the best way.
"Also, the team, what they did for me the whole week, it was a big statement. It was really cool teamwork the whole week. They were all so nervous as well today, and they wished it so much. Everybody was so happy, they came to see me at the ceremony; they were standing there before the stage to see the victory ceremony, and it meant a lot to me."
Brennauer beat Van Dijk by 19 seconds in last year's race but it would be a seemingly much closer affair this time. The German came into the final stage with a lead of just seven seconds over Van Dijk, a fellow former time trial world champion. Thanks to GC placing, Van Dijk started her effort first and set a strong target of 26:38 on the course. Brennauer was not able to beat her but only lost two seconds to the Dutch rider, enough to keep hold of her overall lead.
"I wasn't too worried. I still was pretty confident, and I had the feeling that I still had some energy left and that I was able to go well," Brennauer explained. "I also didn't stress too much; it's an 18km time trial and you can only go full gas and see what's the outcome. You just have to go and it either works out or it doesn't, and I'm super happy.
"It's was really a great week. I was super-motivated, but also the other girls, you could really feel it within the group. Everyone was pulling together for this one goal and it’s so nice when it works out in the end."
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