The Finnish sprinter makes it two for two for Trek-Segafredo in Spain.
After a hilly opening stage, stage two was all for the sprinters and Trek-Segafredo’s Lotta Lepistö sprinted to the win, giving Trek-Segafredo its second victory in two days at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana. It was the best gift for recently retired Giorgia Bronzini, who now is two for two from the car, the best start a new director could have.
“Wow! I can just say wow! This team makes me so proud of the choice that I made to be a director,” gushed director Giorgia Bronzini. “The plan was to bring Lotta to the sprint and everyone covered the attacks like we had planned. There was just a bit of chaos in the end, with a crash in the middle of the peloton. But after Anna (Plichta), Audrey (Cordon-Ragot) and Elisa (Longo Borghini) brought Lotta into the best position and Lotta finished the hard work in the best way possible. I am super proud.”
Ruth Winder, the winner of the first stage, also maintained the leader’s jersey in the mostly flat 100-kilometer stage that saw little action off the front with Trek-Segafredo keeping a close eye on any dangerous moves and most teams content for a bunched ending.
Today was a more flat stage, and I tried to stay sheltered as long as I could before the sprint. There were some attacks, but the team was always there, so I didn’t have to worry about that at all.
- Lotta Lepistö
After 70 kilometers no breakaway had established, and it was apparent the stage was headed towards a fast finish, and the sprinters would have their say.
“In the end, it was a bunch sprint, and it was quite hectic in the last 10 kilometers,” explained Lepistö. “I think we lost each other a little with five kilometers to go, but I still had three of the girls there with me in the last two kilometers. They helped keep me out of the wind and then I used Sunweb’s train in the last 600 meters. I jumped at 250 meters to go and won! I was happy with the win and also that Ruth (Winder) could keep her jersey.”
The race continues Saturday with stage three, a pivotal day for the overall classification. Ruth Winder holds a slim six-second lead over second place, with Elisa Longo-Borghini (16th) and Ellen van Dijk (17th) at fifteen seconds.
“It was really hectic coming into the finish with a lot of crashes,” explained Winder, happy to get through unscathed. “I was trying to be up there but honestly got caught up in the chaos a bit. The girls did an excellent job of helping Lotta out. I was close enough behind to come across the line to hear Lotta had won, and that was really, really awesome!
“I stayed up front enough to keep my leader’s jersey, and I am really excited for tomorrow. It’s going to be a really hard day with a hard climb at the end, and we will have to see how it goes, see how the climbing legs are doing. But I think we have some good options in the team.”
“We have the jersey with Ruth, so we will work to defend this of course,” added Bronzini. “We will use the strength of Elisa to help on the climb and the team will be around both of them to get them to the last climb together as fresh as possible. I think Ruth is in good shape and with Elisa there we shall see what happens!”