Team Visma | Lease a Bike remains hungry after strong week in Normandie

Team Visma | Lease a Bike remains hungry after strong week in Normandie

Team Visma | Lease a Bike was unable to crown a good week in the Tour of Normandie with victory in the general classification. The Dutch squad was one of the better teams uphill, but failed to get a place on the podium. Riejanne Markus eventually finished fifth in the overall standings.

The French stage race began Thursday with a ten-kilometer time trial in which the women of Team Visma | Lease a Bike immediately showed their high level. Markus finished second and Lieke Nooijen surprised with third place. In the second and third stages Markus consolidated her podium position in the classification, but in the last stage she lost it.

In the all-important stage to Caen - with four climbs the toughest stage of this stage race - six riders managed to stay out of the peloton's grip. Because two of them were short in the general classification, they would decide who would win the Tour of Normandie. Mie Bjorndal Ottestad won the race. Markus dropped from third to fifth place.

"Of course it's sad for Riejanne to lose her podium spot, but it wasn't up to us to close the gap with the leaders. If the numbers one and two don't want to ride, it will be difficult for us to achieve a result," race coach Van Emden said.

"Uphill we were among the best teams, that's a nice observation"

Jos van Emden

On the toughest climb of the day, the yellow-and-black formation tried to force a shuffle. "We tried to exhaust the other riders by continuing to ride hard on the climb. That succeeded, because Ellen van Dijk (who was the overall leader at the time) had to let go. The course was not tough enough after that to cause people any problems. In any case, the team rode super well and I am very satisfied with that."

With three top-ten finishes, a fifth place in the overall classification and Nooijen riding in the white jersey for two days, Team Visma | Lease a Bike had a successful four days. Still, not all goals were achieved, Van Emden states. "We wanted to win the classification and the time trial, but unfortunately that didn't work out. No, it's not a disappointment. The level is super high and uphill we were among the best teams. That's a nice observation."

Van Emden is happy with the development the riders are going through. "Compared to last season, most of the riders have taken not one, but definitely two steps forward. That shows that we are doing well as a team," said the former pro, citing two examples. "Lieke's third place in the time trial was a bigger surprise for her than for us. She is incredibly strong, but she has yet to realize that herself. The same goes for Maud, who was one of the best climbers in this field. All in all, we had a good week, but we are hungry for more."


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