Realini shines at Setmana Valenciana: 2nd place on the queen stage

Solid performance from Gaia on the hardest stage of the race: “I’m happy for what I did, I gave it my all”.

Gaia Realini confirms she is among the most competitive climbers in the peloton. After her good performance seven days ago on the Jabel Hafeet climb, at the UAE Tour, where she finished 4th, the young Italian took another step forward by coming close to her first success of the year.

Team spirit is always the key element of Lidl-Trek (©GettyImages)

On the third and queen stage of Setmana Valenciana, with the finish line in Xorret del Catì, Realini placed second behind Fisher-Black (SD Worx). The two riders battled for success until the final kilometer, when Fisher-Black managed to make a gap to finish alone (13 seconds separated the two on the finish line). The other chasers came one by one, first Niewadoma (Canyon-SRAM), 10 seconds behind Realini. At 1’33” from the winner, Shirin van Anrooij crossed the line, maintaining her position as the best young rider.

The podium result and the encouraging performance allowed Gaia Realini to enter the top five in the general classification, 37 seconds behind Reusser (SD Worx), while Van Anrooij sits 9th. Tomorrow’s last stage is in Valencia and, on paper, it is another good chance for the fast wheels of Elisa Balsamo.

Spratty in action. She has been one of the most active rider today and a key help for Gaia (©GettyImages)

Realini’s reaction

“Until 5km to the finish, the starting point of the last climb, it was a very hard-fought stage, with a fast pace and multiple attacks to get into a breakaway, among which Amanda Spratt deserves a mention for the tenacity to try over and over again. At the foot of the climb there were many of us thinking and hoping to play for the overall victory. Niewadoma’s attack lit the fuse and when Reusser closed the gap, it was the moment of Fisher-Black. Instinctively I realised that it could be the decisive move and I did not hesitate to follow.

“Honestly, it was not easy to stay with her, she was really strong today, but I never gave up and some of mentality is also thanks to Ina’s [Teutenberg] encouragement from the team car. She told me to believe in myself, and so I did. I stayed with Fisher-Black all the way to the top, before the final descent at 2km to go. It was the decisive moment, because there we looked each other, it was a moment of standstill… she sized the moment and gained a few metres, to then make the decisive move.

“I have no regrets about how it went, I’m happy with the result, I gave everything. I just wanted to repay the exceptional work of my teammates, whom I want to thank. They protected me and helped me through a difficult stage, something I am trying to improve on thanks to the more experienced ones like Lauretta Hanson and Spratty.

“From UAE to now, the feelings and results have improved. The path of growth is the right one, I only have to persevere”.

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