At the foothills of Monte Tamaro, a venue where a SwissCup was held a few years ago, the organizers knew how to deliver a very technical course at a military site. After a rainy week in Leogang, the weather cooperated to a large extent and showed off its sunny side on race day which was Saturday. After the injuries and long-lasting infections of Caroline and Lisa, Barbara also had to cancel her participation at the European Champs at short notice due to health problems. So Anne Terpstra and Sina Frei were the only GHOST athletes left in the starting line-up. For the latter, this race being a “home Euro Champs” was of special importance.
Sina delivered a strong race and was within medal range right from the start. She had hoped for more than her eventual fifth place finish: “Naturally, I had hoped for a medal at the home Euro Champs, but the others were just more explosive on this course today than I was. I have to let some time go by and then I will surely be happy with a fourth-place finish at the World Championships and a fifth place at the Euro Champs”. The Swiss athlete had a good, but not entirely perfect start, but during the first of five laps, she managed to secure her spot shifting back and forth from the third to fifth place rider in the battle group up front. “Starting with the penultimate lap, though, I had to let a gap develop which I was not able to close again. Sure, I would have loved a better result, but all in all, I can surely be happy with this short season”.
Anne did not exactly know what to expect from the European Championships after the World Champs: “I had trouble breathing in Leogang and we still don’t know 100% what caused it. We did explore quite a few possible causes in a short amount of time, but I really had no clue going into the race whether things would be ok today or not.” The technical course benefitted the Dutch Champion’s skill set, so she tried right from the start to position herself well. “Pauline was just too strong today and I knew after the first lap that it was about securing second place today. I divided the race up today according to how I felt and according to a few instructions from my team, and that worked wonderfully. On such an a-rhythmical and diverse course like this one, I was by myself quite quickly and was able to ride at my own pace. Congratulations to Pauline, even though I would have loved to challenge her a little more today. Thanks to the Dutch National Team for their perfect support even in these difficult times. It is always an honor to wear the orange jersey.”
After a short race of approximately 75 minutes, the World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot won Gold, trailed by Anne Terpstra who came in second place and Ukrainian rider Yana Belomoina in third. Since this short season focused on the block of events during the last few weeks, there are no more major events scheduled for the rest of the year. The athletes, however, are already planning for their upcoming season.