Veronica Ewers wins Navarra Women’s Elite Classics
Magdeleine Vallieres Mill best U-23 rider
The day after she stood on the 2nd step on the podium at Emakumeen Nafarroako Women’s Classics, Veronica Ewers did herself one better and won the Navarra Women’s Elite Classics. To further underscore what a great result today was for the entire team, Magdeleine Vallieres Mill claimed the best young rider’s jersey.
With the mercury rising to 33 degrees Celsius during the 125-kilometer stage, the team expected another challenging day on the road. Tim Harris, EF Education-TIBCO-SVB sports director, knew his riders would feel fatigued after earning a strong result in yesterday's tough race but he also knew they were more than capable of pushing their limits today. “I said to the riders, ‘It’s going to be brutally hot today, so just ride your race and see what happens.’ And then on the really steep climb, Veronica got away with two riders from Bike Exchange so because there were two of them she didn’t need to work much so she could save quite a bit of energy. Looking at the race profile, I said to Veronica she had to go on that climb with nine kilometers to go. Give it everything and just see what happens. Normally it’s pretty hard to get away with two riders from the same team so you just have to gamble everything. It came down to that last climb and she just went like she did ten days ago at Elsy Jacobs and she stayed away. She destroyed the field, really.”
As she approached the final climb, knowing that was the moment to attack, Ewers gritted her teeth and dug in. “I was like, ‘Oh my god, my legs, I’m dying,’” she recalls. “Everything hurt but I thought if I give up right now, I’m going to disappoint my teammates. Just knowing that my teammates were behind me and basically looking for me to get the win at that point motivated me a lot. Just thinking about the whole team, including the staff, that kept me going.”
“Tim was in my ear the whole time saying, ‘you have to go, you have to go, keep going, keep pushing.’ I’m so glad for that because I was absolutely dying in those last nine kilometers after attacking on the final climb. It was rough,” says Ewers.
But it was worth it.
“It was fun to be able to post up today and really take it in. With 50 meters to go, I turned around and saw that I had time so I posted up,” she says. "This all feels a little foreign although today it felt particularly good. I don’t know why. It felt really good today."
While Ewers had the legs to get away, her teammates in the reduced peloton did everything they could to keep additional attacks from succeeding. Riding in the peloton, Kathrin Hammes says, “I couldn’t be sure that the break would stay away. In case it came back, we were just ready to attack. Today was about being in the right place at the right time and reading the race. This is what everyone did. Everyone was really switched on. It was so cool to be part of this win.”
"Just knowing that my teammates were behind me and basically looking for me to get the win at that point motivated me a lot."
Also controlling the peloton was 20-year-old Magdeleine Vallieres Mill. Thanks in part to her efforts to support Ewers’ solo ride, Vallieres Mill finished 11th on the day, making her the best young rider. “This is my best result in Europe so far and the first time I’ve been on the podium here,” Vallieres Mill says. “It feels really special. It’s really motivating. I’ve been racing quite a bit in the last few weeks and it was super motivating with Veronica winning the stage at Elsy Jacobs, but it’s also really nice when you see that your training has been going really well and your form is good and that you’re able to finish with the front group. I feel extra motivated after today, which is important because we have a big block of racing coming up!”