Brianna Walle earned her second podium of La Route de France, leading the charge in a bunch sprint behind solo escapees Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-Honda) and Eugenia Bujak (Btc City Ljubljana) to finish third on the stage.
“We put forth 100% of our efforts to contest the stage win,” said Walle. “Jasmin, Leah and I conserved energy and stuck together for the final circuits, while Annie, Maura and Ariane patrolled the front and looked for opportunities to make a breakaway. Thanks to everyone’s efforts, we had a shot at the win today.”
After a few times around the hectic circuit, the lead group was all but disintegrated, and it was up to Walle and her sprinting companions to stay positioned and calm as the fireworks began.
“Jasmin set a fast tempo into the circuits to keep Leah and I in great position. Leah descended away from the group with Borghini and Claudia Lichtenberg (Team Liv-Plantur), which was a great situation for us,” said Walle. “With 1 km to go, we caught up to them, and that was when Borghini sprinted away. I stayed patient, surfing wheels and I jumped at about 100 meters to go. It’s fun to get a result on such a chaotic circuit, especially when my teammates played such important roles in making it happen. Hats off to Borghini for such a smart attack, she was just the better rider today.”
Stage three of the seven day race added another degree of difficulty to La Route de France. With long sequences of rolling hills and a technical finish in Avallon, the course was built for the team’s versatile sprinting core. Walle, Leah Kirchmann and Jasmin Glaesser arrived on the circuit together in a select lead group of around 35 riders, and the real fight began. Performance Director Patrick McCarty knew the technical, high difficulty finish gave the team lots of options in the fight for the podium.
“The circuit was super tough, either up or down, very short and narrow, and the downhill section was very technical,” he said. “Plus, the temperatures were around 100 degrees, so there was a lot of attrition out there. This is good for our team – I knew the harder and faster the course, the better our chances. It was great to see four of our riders make the final selection, and all four were being aggressive in the end. Longo is one of the strongest riders in the world, and she was able to escape solo to take the win, but Brie was able to stay patient and sprint onto the podium.”
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