Racing

Doebel-Hickok wins again in the Pyrenees

My teammates were in the ultimate ‘defend the jersey mode’

August 6, 2022

After yesterday’s display of dominance from the EF Education-TIBCO-SVB riders at the CIC-Tour Féminin International des Pyrénées in which the team won the morning team time trial as well as the afternoon stage, Krista Doebel-Hickok won today’s stage and retained the race leader’s jersey.

The stage got off to a fast and aggressive start. The peloton did not let a breakaway get up the road for the two hours of racing.

“We needed to control the group to ensure Krista was in a good position leading into the last part of the day,” said Sara Poidevin. “Having myself with help from Zoe and Emily meant Clara, Emma, and Krista were able to conserve more energy, which paid off later on.”

“My teammates were in the ultimate ‘defend the jersey mode.’ For the first 80k, we had a few riders where that was their sole job and they were on everything. We were always in control,” Krista said.

It was only when the peloton began the first of two climbs that things began to break up. US national champion Emma Langley came to the front of the race and lifted the tempo until only 10 riders remained, including Krista.

Though Emma was dropped towards the summit of the initial climb, she wasn’t finished supporting her teammate.

“I caught back on during the descent because we knew it would still be helpful to have another rider. So I had our sport director, Daniel, in my ear pushing me to catch back and I knew if I caught back on, I’d have a chance to give one final dig for Krista. I was empty in the last few meters of my pull but it felt so fulfilling to know I gave absolutely everything for the team,” Emma said.

"I was empty in the last few meters of my pull but it felt so fulfilling to know I gave absolutely everything for the team."

- Emma Langley

With about three kilometers to go, the group had whittled down to just a handful of riders thanks to Emma’s massive effort.

“I never had a doubt that we would defend the jersey if I did my job on the climb,” Krista said. “Emma hauled me up every climb. Mentally, I told myself, all you’ve got to do is hold that wheel, that’s your teammate’s wheel, she’s guiding you up the climb. I think that totally intimidated the other teams. Nobody was going to try attacking.”

Knowing that each of her teammates had sacrificed themselves so that she could hold onto the leader’s jersey, Krista wanted to thank them in the only way she knew how.

“I wanted to try for the stage win. I waited and waited and Emma said, ‘I’m empty, I’m empty,’ and I said, ‘No, you’re not!’ Nobody was going to try and attack at that point. They were all waiting to see what I did. Around 1k to go, I thought that the others were all dying and I’d give it a try. I just went and I heard Daniel saying, ‘They’re dropping! They’re dropping!’ and I wondered how they could be dropping. I pushed a bit harder and I saw a gap and I actually had a big enough gap that I could just enjoy the moment.”

Krista took the stage win atop the Col du Soulor and increased her advantage in the general classification. She continues to lead in the points and mountain competitions. For her tremendous work on the road, Emma was named the stage's most combative rider.

The final stage is the longest of the race and takes place on Sunday. The course features over 1,500 meters of elevation, making it one for the climbers.

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How to follow: GCN+ and sportenfrance.com will livestream all 4 stages

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