Kirsten Wild was a happy woman after winning stage 2 of the Giro Rosa in Ovada, and highlighted the effort put in by her Wiggle High5 teammates as their dedicated chase brought back a two-rider breakaway inside the final kilometre, with the finish line almost in sight.
"It was such a hard race, and I actually didn't think it would be a good sprint for me as the finish was a bit uphill, which doesn't really suit me. But it worked out really well in the end. This was a team win, really – the girls chased hard to catch the breakaway and then put me into a good position in the final. In the final kilometre, I saw another team going and followed their wheels. It was a really hectic sprint, and I just went full throttle to the line."
Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) was all smiles, too. After yesterday's team time trial victory that netted Ellen van Dijk the maglia rosa and Liane Lippert the white jersey of best U23 rider, their focus was on keeping the jerseys within the team. Juliette Labous moved into the lead in the U23 classification, and Brand took over the overall lead.
"It was a hard day in the sun and the heat today, but I think that was the case for everyone," said Brand. "Our goal for the day was to keep the leaders' jerseys in the team and not give them away easily, and we did a good job defending the jerseys. We didn't target the sprint, so it was up to the other teams to bring back the break, and it got really close in the last kilometres. It's awesome for me to get to wear the leader's jersey in such a big race."
With Team Sunweb only interested in the overall classification, it was up to the sprinters' teams to reel in the breakaway, as Wild explained.
"At one point we were three minutes behind, and we tried to speak to the other teams," she said. "But there weren't many teams really interested in a sprint, so we had to take the initiative. The girls started chasing, while Emilia Fahlin and Elisa Longo Borghini stayed with me, and we got them back in the last 500 metres. It's easier to catch a group that has been up the road for a long time, but the team chase was amazing. Like another team time trial, really."
With a stage win in the bag, Wild can now look forward to the upcoming sprint stages in more of a relaxed manner.
"A win at the Giro is a really big one, and it was an important goal for me, so I'm happy to have won the first sprint already, and to have been able to reward the team like that. I think there'll be more chances for us to take another win in the coming days."
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