Lessons from La Vuelta

Veronica Ewers finishes 14th on GC thanks to climbing prowess

September 12, 2022

Much like the course profile itself, racing La Vuelta was full of ups and downs for our squad.

Letizia Borghesi’s positioning and speed continue to improve, as is evidenced by her strong riding in stages 4 and 5. Veronica Ewers has shown time and again that she is one of the strongest climbers in the peloton, finishing with the main favorites in the mountains of stages 2 and 3. The combination of her climbing and consistency landed her in 14th place overall.

Omer Shapira, Sara Poidevin, and Lauren Stephens once again proved themselves to be exemplary teammates, willing to burn their last matches to support Letizia and Veronica. Sara got in the mix herself when the race reached Madrid, storming through the city in a small breakaway that was only pulled back in the closing kilometers of the race.

The team was dealt a blow midway through the second stage when Krista Doebel-Hickok crashed out of the race with a broken collarbone. Since returning to the team at the start of 2022, this season has been her best to date with multiple stage wins in both the Tour of the Gila and the Tour Féminin International des Pyrénées, as well as the GC title in the latter. Krista had surgery on her collarbone this past Saturday and she is preparing to return home to California. We wish her a speedy recovery.

Despite reaching Madrid one rider short, the team’s spirits remained high. Our riders raced aggressively and wisely, taking chances and creating opportunities when none existed. Find out below what our riders have to say about their Vuelta experiences.

Letizia Borghesi

I’m quite disappointed about the final stage because I think that it was possible to have a top result and I was just outside the top ten again. I raced well, always in a good position so I just missed a little bit in the final. I made a choice to do a really long sprint because I wanted to go for a big result but I missed a little bit of the legs in the last meters of the race. We will try again. Still, I think that these last two days give me confidence for the last races of the season. My form is improving. I aim to do a good final of the season.

Veronica Ewers

Overall, it was a really fun race. We got a lot of different racing in — a TTT, some mountain climbing, a flat stage and basically a crit in the middle of Madrid which was really cool. I personally feel really good. I feel like I have improved a lot, no longer shotgunning off the back and being able to get myself to the front. Hopefully I’ll be able to help Letizia in the sprints. Step by step. I’m excited that the rest of us made it through unscathed and hoping for a speedy recovery for Krista. I’m excited for what we accomplished here at La Vuelta.

Sara Poidevin

The overall race was a variety of courses so we had some good opportunities to use our different strengths. The team time trial, we only do one or two of those a year so it’s always a special event and a challenging one to perform on the day. I think overall we took opportunities that came up and came away with some good fishing results as well. I had a lot of fun in the breakaway. When you’re all riding cohesively, it’s so much fun to be in the break. Between the four of us, we had the strength to stay away for every lap except the first and last. Being out there and leading the race, it was such a good way to wrap up La Vuelta.

Omer Shapira

​​I’m happy to be back after illness this season. I definitely felt like I haven’t been here in awhile and I wasn’t sharp enough but it will come. The team did really well at La Vuelta. We worked together and I really enjoy being around the team. It’s so encouraging to see that everyone’s commitment to this team is so solid and strong.

Lauren Stephens

It’s pretty cool to have a race on such a large stage. We had Sara in the breakaway today so it was a good day for the fans. This is my first time at La Vuelta. My first time in Madrid and I did 17 laps of the city but I didn’t see anything. It’s been a nice sunny race. I enjoy the heat. I’m hoping a few days of rest will set me up for all the one-day alternative events plus the road world championships that I have coming up.

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