Christine Majerus has finished the 2018 Festival Elsy Jacobs in second place overall. After being isolated in the final, but withstanding all the attacks, she lost the leader’s jersey in the sprint finish. Italian Letizia Paternoster (Team Astana) won the sprint and earned enough bonus points to take the overall victory. Majerus sprinted to fifth place to finish second overall.
"I am disappointed about the GC obviously, but in the end I did all I could to defend the jersey," Majerus said. "It all comes down to a sprint where I do a little positioning mistake and then all the work was worthless."
The day started dry and sunny in Garnich for the 111.1-kilometre second stage. Majerus had a five-second lead on Alexis Ryan (Canyon-SRAM) and was seven seconds ahead of best young rider Lisa Klein (Canyon-SRAM). Amy Pieters stood fourth overall going into stage two, but retaining Majerus’ leader’s jersey was the task of the day.
The early break consisted of Sofia Beggin (Team Astana), Manon Lloyd (Trek-Drops) and Jessy Druyts (Experza-Footlogix), who remained off the front until they were in the first of five local laps. Before the 40 to go-mark, the trio was reeled back in by the peloton.
From this point on, the pace in the peloton remained very high. The peloton was strung out when Sofia Bertizzolo (Team Astana) defended her mountain jersey on the KOM and a small lead group formed during the acceleration. Majerus rode attentively at the front and was part of this little group, along with Bertizzolo, Sabrina Stultiens (Waowdeals Pro Cycling), Eugenia Bujak (BTC City Ljubljana), Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervélo-Bigla) and Ryan.
Isolated from her teammates, it was up to Majerus herself to bring back Moolman-Pasio when she launched an attack out of this group on one of the undulating parts of the course. At only twelve seconds from Majerus in the GC, she was a danger to her leader’s jersey. Ryan stayed in her wheel but was unable or unwilling to take turns, but Majerus caught Moolman-Pasio and made sure the chase group with Anna Plichta, Pieters and Jip van den Bos was able to return.
Moolman-Pasio wasn’t done yet with her attacks though and when she accelerated again on an uphill section on the course, no-one was able to follow her. She gained an advantage of almost 30 seconds, but with organisation back in the peloton behind her, she was caught before the final lap.
It was this final lap that proved most challenging for the Luxembourg champion. Without any teammates in the group with her, it was up to Majerus to bring back all attackers - which she did. She resisted all attacks, brought back each and everyone of them.
Ultimately, Majerus still lost the leader’s jersey in the sprint. With a nine second gap to Majerus after the first stage, 18-year old Paternoster won the sprint ahead of Lotta Lepistö (Cervélo-Bigla) and Ryan, also winning the GC. Majerus finished second overall and Lepistö third.
"I can't have too many regrets, I did all I could," concluded Majerus. "That's just sport, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. At least I lost trying."