The Trek-Segafredo riders winning the race against the time
On the second day of the National Championships, Trek-Segafredo added two more titles thanks to Audrey Cordon-Ragot and Leah Thomas in the French and USA championships, respectively. The title count thus rises to seven after the five won yesterday by Longo Borghini, Van Dijk, Mollema, Skujins and Van Anrooij, among the U23s.
Also noteworthy are the performances in Denmark of 21-year-old Mattias Skjelmose (third at +7″ from winner Norsgaard) and Mads Pedersen (fourth, +10″), as well as the one of Elynor Backstedt, silver medalist among the U23s in the UK.
Audrey Cordon-Ragot defended the title won last year in Epinal, bringing her personal palmarès to six.
“Well, what can I say? I’m just super happy! It’s hard to find the words because I was doubting myself so much over the last months since I had covid. I think an athletes life is really made of ups and downs but the last couple of months have been really down. After the Women’s Tour I felt like my level was coming back and I came here, but still with doubts. This morning when I warmed up I looked at my coach and I told him that I felt really good. It was already a first step to the victory.
“I just rode the time trial like I know how, to my feeling and with my heart. At the first time check I was already ahead by a couple of seconds, then at the second one I was more ahead. From there it was downhill to the finish and I was confident I could win as long as I didn’t crash. I really enjoyed the final straight to the finish line and I enjoyed being on the podium with my parents and friends as we are not so far from home. I think I have good luck here, I already won the GP Cholet twice with the same finish line so I have a good feeling for Saturday! Let’s see what happens.”
For Leah Thomas it’s her first national title after bronze medals in 2021, 2019 and 2017. A special achievement for the California native after going through spinal surgery earlier this year.
“This was a really special day. I feel like I have come back from a pretty major setback with having surgery earlier this year. I didn’t respond as quickly as I thought I would and just didn’t have a great spring. I continued to work hard despite not having really any positive feedback, and I think just digging deep and having my support system around me reminding me that I can do it and that if I keep working things will eventually turn a corner, is what got me here today. I think that our effort, and my effort and willingness to keep ploughing along is what I am most proud of from this race.
“I’ve been third here quite a lot and so it is really nice to walk away with the win finally but it is also really nice to walk away with a solid personal best performance. This course is obviously one that I know really well since we’ve done it so many times and really wanted to pace this one really well and I think I did that. Overall I am really pleased with my effort, feeling really thankful and happy with my race.”