Team takes yellow jersey after double wins in the Pyrenees
Emily Newsom, then Krista Doebel-Hickok wear race leader’s jersey on a double race day at the CIC-Tour Féminin International des Pyrénées
It was a day of celebration for EF Education-TIBCO-SVB on the opening day of the CIC-Tour Féminin International des Pyrénées.
In the morning stage, the team won the team time trial, landing Emily Newsom in the race leader’s yellow jersey and stagiaire Zoe Bäckstedt in the best young rider’s jersey. Krista Doebel-Hickok got into the early breakaway on the afternoon’s 76 kilometer stage, where her climbing and aggressive racing earned her a remarkable haul: the stage win, the leader’s jersey, the mountain jersey, and the sprint jersey.
EF Education-TIBCO-SVB’s sport director Daniel Foder said the team knew they were a favorite coming into the race but that they took nothing for granted.
“We knew we had to go for the victory but then of course anything can happen out on the road,” he said. “The most important thing was that we had a plan for what we wanted to do and then we knew we had to execute that and see how the morning went. We knew that if we did a good TTT, then we knew we would be up there. Everybody is really happy for Emily to have had that experience of being the race leader going into the afternoon.”
Just days after Emily’s Tour de France Femmes ended prematurely when she was outside the time limit on the penultimate stage, she found herself a stage winner alongside her teammates and the race leader.
“It was a gift to wear the yellow jersey. Each of us were a part of this win and I was beyond honored to be the one who dons the leaders jersey. It’s no secret I had some very dark moments during the Tour and this is a shining light for me,” Emily said of wearing the yellow jersey.
She continued by praising her five teammates for their performance. “With only being able to practice together for a few days, the team put together a very strong performance. This win is because of every individual’s contribution and the expert guidance of our sport director, Daniel. From beginning to end, we were in control and to be rewarded for our efforts with the top step is a moment to treasure!”
"The whole time I was thinking about all the people that have helped me get to this point in the season, racing better than ever before and happier than ever before.”
The race got off to an ideal start for Zoe who met her teammates and sport director for the time earlier in the week.
“After some TTT practice over the last few days I felt confident riding with the girls,” Zoe said. “We rode to our strengths and Emily and I were doing longer turns on the front to keep the others fresh. But it was really enjoyable — if you can say that about a TTT effort! I’m happy to have helped with this victory.”
The team’s morning win put the 17-year-old Welsh rider in the best young rider’s jersey.
“I didn’t exactly expect to go into my first stage race and start with the young rider’s jersey but to start this afternoon in it will be an amazing feeling,” she said.
The race continued this afternoon with a 76 kilometer stage in the foothills of the Pyrenees in which Krista rode in the break. In the closing kilometers, Krista knew she had the legs to take the stage.
“I asked Daniel with 5k to go, ‘How do you want me to win the finish?’ He said there’s a little climb with 1k to go, you have to come from behind. You can try there or if you think you can beat them in a sprint you can try there. He told me to believe in myself and that I was super strong today. I saw it with one lap to go and thought I’ve got to give it a try. I just did it and I told myself not to look back.”
Handing off the yellow jersey to her teammate Krista, Emily said simply, “It feels fantastic! It’s so nice the yellow jersey will be well represented by Krista in tomorrow's finishing climb!”
Reflecting on her stage win and three jersey wins, Krista said, “It feels unbelievable. Unreal. This season just gets better and better and better. The whole time I was thinking about all the people that have helped me get to this point in the season, racing better than ever before and happier than ever before.”
Crediting her teammates who took longer pulls in the morning’s team time trial, allowing Krista to save energy, she said, “Everyone played a part in this. I’m just so happy to be here with everyone.”
How to follow: GCN+ and sportenfrance.com will livestream all 4 stages