The French Champion wins the decisive time trial and moves into second overall
Audrey Cordon-Ragot knew after the first stage of the Simac Ladies Tour after she sprinted to third place from a group of 19 riders, how critical Saturday’s stage would be. “It’s a good start” she said at the finish, “but for me the decisive day will be the time trial.”
Cordon-Ragot came out with a perfect pacing plan to win the penultimate stage time trial of the Simac Ladies Tour.
The French time trial champion covered the 17.8kms (from Sittard Geleen to Beekdaelen) in 25 minutes and 15 seconds (42.297 km/h), 4 seconds better than Dutch Markus (Jumbo-Visma) and 11 seconds ahead of next year’s new teammate Amanda Spratt (Bike Exchange).
When we contacted Audrey for her reaction, she was surprised she pulled it off after feeling tired from yesterday’s effort.
“I knew it was an important day for the GC but I am pretty surprised I won,” exclaimed Audrey. “I had good pacing plan, like I have had since the beginning of the season, and when I have a time trial, we are working on it a few days before.
“I had a nice plan for today, but after yesterday I felt like I had big legs and felt tired and so we adjusted the plan a little to go a little less hard pace than before. I just focused on what I had to do, and not on the others. Ina (Teutenberg, director) was following me and giving me what watts I had to do, and other info since it was a real technical lap.”
She continued: “I was surprised to be best time in the first intermediate time because I didn’t start full gas, I started pretty conservatively. But then I could hang on to the end so I am really really happy. I think it’s a good reward for my work this whole season, and how focused I have been on the time trial. I have done good work with the team to get my best position on the Speed Concept, and I have been training a lot on it.”
Cordon-Ragot gained time on direct competitors (38″ to Karlijn Swinkels in second and 21″ to leader Lorena Wiebes) in the overall standings and moved from third to second place.
Wiebes’ fifth place in the race of truth was enough to keep her in the overall lead with one stage remaining Sunday.
“The best would have been to get more time on Wiebes, but she is in really top form. She is having the season of her life, so I am not super surprised that she still is in the race lead,” she added.
The final Stage 6 is a challenging circuit around Arnhem, and Cordon-Ragot is chasing Wiebes by 6 seconds with a 36-second buffer to third placed Swinkels.
“Let’s see tomorrow how I recover from today. Without being negative, I think I am in a good place and I won’t be in shame to finish second behind Wiebes because she is really outstanding at the moment. I just want to enjoy today before thinking of tomorrow,” ended Cordon-Ragot.