The Italian climber triumphs in Megeve, followed by teammate Shirin Van Anrooij
Lidl-Trek has made its mark at the Tour de l’Avenir Femmes. The first edition of what can be described as the Grande Boucle for young riders, raced by national teams, saw Gaia Realini winning today ahead of Dutchwoman and teammate Shirin van Anrooij.
For Realini, her magical season seems to have no end in sight. After successes at Trofeo Oro in Euro and the Vuelta a Espana, as well as GC podiums at the Spanish race, the Giro d’Italia and UAE Tour, here comes her first win in the Azzurra jersey.
Tomorrow, the final act, is on paper another good day for both Gaia and Shirin. In addition to stage success, the aim could be to shake the GC, with the Dutchwoman occupying third place 19 seconds from leader Niedermaier (Germany) and 5 seconds from Shackley (Great Britain), while the Italian is fourth with a gap of 33 seconds to the leader.
Wearing the jersey of the national team brings, in itself, great satisfaction. Personally, I feel the responsibility for what I represent. Winning takes on an even more special meaning. I’m so happy.
When we studied the route we knew that today’s and tomorrow’s stage would be the most suitable for me. In short, I had them in my sights. In the morning meeting, the keyword for the first part of the race was not to take any risks and to see the approach of the other teams. I waited until the longest climb, then I hit out. With the help of my teammates, I first made a small selection before finally I was able to go solo. The final flat part caused me to lose a bit of the lead, but I had taken that into account and managed to finish without problem.
When you wear the national team jersey, you’re only aiming to do well for your team, but to see Shirin [Van Anrooij] come in behind me was nice too. Now, let’s see what tomorrow’s stage holds. There is room for so much to happen.