UCI hour record holder Evelyn Stevens posted the fastest time for Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team in the evening prologue at Emakumeen Euskal Bira on Wednesday. The American stopped the clock at 4:21, nine seconds off the pace of the winning time set by Lotta Lepistö over the 3.3-kilometre course in Iurreta.
“The course was essentially slightly uphill, super fast downhill and a few turns,” explained Stevens. “The prologue was basically like doing the start of the hour! I had 56 more minutes left in the hour though.”
“Of course you always to win, but in a short prologue, I’ve never gotten better than fifth place,” she added. “Fourth place is an improvement, so I’m happy enough.”
Boels-Dolmans put three riders in the top ten on Wednesday. Kasia Pawloska slotted into sixth place at 11 seconds while pre-race favourite and Durango-Durango winner Megan Guarnier managed ninth place at 12 seconds.
Three years ago Stevens finished third overall in the hilly five-day Basque Tour. Although the team starts the race on rider short, with world champion Lizzie Armitstead a last minute withdrawal due to illness, Stevens and her teammates are well-suited to the Basque terrain.
“We’re excited to race,” said Stevens. “It should be fun and aggressive these next four days.”