Christine Majerus sprinted in for third place on the final stage of the Elsy Jacobs Festival on Sunday. The Luxembourgish champion was part of a late race breakaway that stayed away to contest the finish. Kasia Niewiadoma (Rabo-Liv) slipped away from the break and soloed across the line in Garnich. Majerus managed second from the chase group for third place on the stage. The result saw Majerus jump to seventh overall following the three day race.
“I’m happy that I have the podium and that I can finish my weekend in Luxembourg in a good way,” said Majerus. “Yesterday was a really miserable day for me. It was not my day. It’s been a long time since I felt that shit on the bike.”
“Today was a nice revenge,” she added. “Even better to make a result from a nice breakaway like that.”
The second stage of the Elsy Jacobs Festival started calmly. An early breakaway of four riders slipped away and Cérvelo-Bigla was controlling the gap for overnight race leader Lotta Lepistö.
“The group that went away didn’t contain any big threats,” Majerus noted. “As far as we were concerned, we’d only go into the breakaway if there was a Rabobank rider in the move. There wasn’t, so we were just sitting on.”
The second road stage, like the first, consisted of a large lap of 53.6 kilometres followed by multiple times round a smaller local lap. On Sunday, the peloton completed five laps around the hilly 10.5-kilometre Garnich circuit.
“The small lap was really, really hard,” said Majerus. “Every year, it’s busy there, and we were thinking the same thing would happen again this year.”
“Bigla was chasing, and everything was really relaxed on the first lap,” Majerus noted. “There was a certain speed going on, and I think everything thought it would keep going like that until we caught the breakaway, but Anna [van der Breggen] decided differently.”
Van der Breggen [Rabo-Liv) attacked up the first climb, catching the peloton by surprised. Majerus was the only Boels-Dolmans rider in a position to mark the move.
“I wasn’t necessarily the right person to cover her, but I was in the right place at the right moment,” Majerus explained. “I took responsibility to go with her, and that actually turned out to be the winning move.”
“I think we got a little surprised by the early attack,” Majerus added. “It was on the first climb of the small lap, and I think everyone was expecting it to come later. Ellen [van Dijk] and the rest of my teammates were a little too far back at the moment. It wasn’t that they didn’t have the level to respond. They just weren’t in the right place.”
Eleven riders had made the selection, and Majerus was alone. The group collaborated to build an advantage and had gained 40-seconds over the peloton when Niewiadoma made her bid for glory.
“We had ridden one of the laps and then Kasia attacked,” said Majerus. “I have to admit, I hesitated going with her. In the end, it wasn’t really up to me. I was the only one from Boels-Dolmans, and I wasn’t the best climber in the group. It was up to the others to bring her back, and they didn’t.”
“When Kasia is gone a hard climb like that, if you don’t really give it full gas behind, you don’t see her back,” Majerus added. “From there it was a race for the podium.”
Majerus’ solo status may have worked to her advantage in the closing kilometres.
“It would have been better to have two, but maybe in the end it was good for me to be alone, so I could sometimes just sit on and not necessarily work 100 percent,” said explained. “If they asked me to do more, I could say I was only one and they are two. Obviously for going for the win, it would have been better with two.”
Niewiadoma reached the finish line 46 seconds ahead of the first chase group. Katrin Garfoot (ORICA-AIS) edged out Majerus for second place.
“I have a break now until the end of the month,” said Majerus. “I would love to be racing in the U.S. again, but I really, really need the break. At the end of the month, I do some racing with the national team before I join Boels-Dolmans again.”