Saturday afternoon Pauliena Rooijakkers scored a neat third place in the first edition of the Donostia San Sebastian Klasikoa. She got the better of two fellow breakaways in San Sebastian, after Lucy Kennedy and Janneke Ensing had already passed the finish earlier.
The Donostia San Sebastian Klasikoa had a few difficult climbs. After the famous Jaizkibel twelve riders, including Inge van der Heijden and Pauliena Rooijakkers, successfully launched a counterattack on two early breakaways. Jointly, the leaders built up a substantial lead of more than three minutes.
“Our rider Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, one of the favourites with the bookmakers, was in the group behind it. The gap with the leaders became a bit too big to our taste. That’s why we put Marta Lach and Agnieszka Skalniak in the lead on the section between the Arkale and Mendizorrotz. The gap with the leaders became smaller. On the last-mentioned climb Ashleigh and other favourites stepped on it, but after that it came to a standstill again”, says sports director Eric van den Boom.
CCC-Liv took increasing account of the fact that the winner had to be sought up front. Janneke Ensing was meanwhile riding ahead alone but saw Lucy Kennedy catch up and overtake her on the extremely steep Murgil Tontorra. Kennedy had earlier freed herself from the other breakaways on the enormously heavy final climb, just like Pauliena Rooijakkers. Our racer could not keep up with the Austrialian uphill, however.
After a short descent Kennedy arrived in San Sebastian alone. Ensing came second and Pauliena got the better of two other breakaways in the sprint for the final podium place. Inge van der Heijden crossed the line in a decent twelfth place.
Van den Boom: “In advance Ashleigh Moolman Pasio was one of the racers who was tipped for victory. With Pauliena we had sent a very strong second, an outsider for the victory, ahead. The race took a different turn than we had expected beforehand. Pauliena and Inge did fantastically well in the leading group. With a third place we achieved the maximum today.”
Photo credits: Cor Vos