Pauliena Rooijakkers has had super legs during this entire Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour. While she just about missed the day victory yesterday, she was rewarded in the third stage on Thursday for her hard work. Pauliena took the black mountain jersey and is now leading the mountain classification, with a five point lead on the number two.
The third stage consisted of three local laps with a climb at the end of each lap, the so-called Hanka Kupfernagel mountain in Dörtendorf. With the exception of the third lap - the arrival - points for the mountain classification could be earned.
The first lap lead to one leader, Marieke van Witzenburg. Pauliena, who had ambitions prior to the start to have a go at the mountain jersey, pushed her wheel over the line behind the solo escapee and collected points.
The sprint for the mountain points resulted in the reconnection of a chasing group of six, including Pauliena. “The lead of the seven quickly increased, but unfortunately the cooperation was not good enough and so they were caught again”, says sports director Jeroen Blijlevens.
The peloton was complete again in the second lap and Pauliena accelerated once again having the line in sight. Our rider from Brabant who was racing strongly arrived as first at the summit and took again the necessary points.
With thirty kilometres to go, Ellen van Dijk escaped from the pack. She did not manage to stay away from the chasing peloton and so they prepared for a sprint which was won by Vita Heine. Marta Lach was with the 26th place the first rider of CCC-Liv.
“We are satisfied with today’s performance”, says Jeroen Blijlevens. “There are three more stages to go and anything can happen there. Friday’s stage, in particular, is very difficult which could cause major changes in the classification. Pauliena is in a good position in the race, has the good flow. We hope that she can keep the mountain jersey and possibly she can also move up some positions in the rankings.”
Valerie out of the race
A small stain on the third stage: CCC-Liv lost an important player, Valerie Demey. She experienced too much discomfort from her crash in the first stage.
Photo credits: Cor Vos