Lotta Lepistö wins again!

An impressive Trek-Segafredo team wins three of four stages in Valencia.

Trek-Segafredo didn’t let the disappointment of losing the leader’s jersey and dropping out of the general classification in stage three affect their performance the final day as Lotta Lepistö stormed to her second victory in the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, Sunday.

“I am super happy with the win. It was a great Tour for us – three wins out of four – we are all really, really happy. Again, the teamwork was perfect today, and I could not do it without these girls working so hard, today and all week!” said Lepistö.

It was an expected sprint stage, and with the general classification set, Trek-Segafredo went on the hunt for another victory.  It may have been a straightforward stage on paper, but out on the road, it took a full team effort to bring Lepistö into position for the win.

“There were some climbs today, and I got a little bit dropped, by half a minute, but then Anna (Plichta) brought me back,” explained Lepistö. “There was also a lot of attacks today; I think the other teams had nothing to lose, so it was quite a hectic race. Unfortunately, Ruth (Winder) crashed with five kilometers to go, so we were there only with four in the end, but the leadout was perfect. I started a little bit early because after the final corner there was only 100m to the finish. I started, and then one rider passed me in the corner, but I could still pass her on the finish stretch.”

I am really, really super proud. It was a positive week. What more can I say? For my first experience as a director, I could not ask more than this!

- Giorgia Bronzini

Lepistö capped off the strong teamwork by Trek-Segafredo, down to four riders in the finale after an early mechanical and a few late crashes.

“Sadly, we had an issue with Audrey (Cordon-Ragot) who had a mechanical. We were behind a barrage, and the neutral service did not stop [to help her] so we lost her quite early on,” clarified director Giorgia Bronzini. “And in the last 10kms were had two crashes with Anna and Ruth – Anna was able to get back but Ruth unfortunately not. But the rest of the team did an amazing job for Lotta, who just had to follow them and do her best sprint. I am really, really super proud. It was a positive week. What more can I say? For my first experience as a director, I could not ask more than this!”

Audrey Cordon-Ragot chasing after a mechanical.

After winning the first two stages, Trek-Segafredo was hopeful to hold onto the leader’s jersey in stage three, but despite its best team effort, Ruth Winder could not match the top climbers on the ridiculously steep Xorret de Catí climb with gradients in excess of 20%.  Winder crossed the line in 20th place, almost two and a half minutes behind overall winner Clara Koppenburg (WNT-Rotor).

“The team gave me a lot of confidence going into the last climb, but I think I just really struggle on a steep climb like that,” Winder said at the finish of stage three. “I gave everything I had, and that’s what I had. There’s not too much to say: the team did what they could to support me and I gave it a good fight for the jersey, but it was just a really hard climb for me.” 

The disappointment did not last long as the team rebounded in stage four in the best way possible.

“We didn’t let our disappointment from yesterday’s stage affect today’s race and this was the result. I’m very happy to be part of this team!” exclaimed Elisa Longo Borghini.

Bronzini agreed: “I am really proud of the way the team responded after yesterday. Yesterday everyone was a little disappointed, for various reasons, not only because we had lost the GC, but then today they all came out with a positive mood, very motivated, and raced perfectly.”

Elisa Longo Borghini (ITA) celebrates with stage winner, Lotta Lepistö (FIN).

Lotta Lepistö (FIN) gets a congratulatory pinch on the cheek from Anna Plichta (POL).