Koppenburg is the latest rider to show great promise
As a team passionate about athlete development, we get very excited when riders have breakout performances. Cycling is a team sport and while the results page doesn't always tell the full story, it's our job to bring you the behind the scenes stories.
Clara Koppenburg was discovered as an 18-year-old and is in her third year with Cervélo Bigla. She's for a long time been regarded by team management as one of the most promising talents. Christina Perchtold joined this year off the back of some impressive results. We're delighted to inform you of their performances in Gracia Orlova this week while riding in their national colours.
Clara won the U23 category on the way to finishing eighth overall. Christina - the Austrian national champion - has returned from injury to finish 5th on the general classification.
Below, Clara gives her report on the race.
It was my first race with the national team apart from the European Championships. The first day I was in the breakaway but we got caught by a small bunch after 70km. Wm3 was there with 5 riders and I was alone and tried to follow all the attacks but I missed the last one. I tried to chase but I was completely alone which made it hard and unfortunately I lost a lot of time that day.
In the second stage it was just racing for "life" as the average temperature was 1 degree with a lot of rain and snow. We finished in a bunch sprint of 30 riders.
Stage 3 was an ITT and I felt good that day so I went all in. I was pushing myself and was super happy with fourth place. In the afternoon we had a short road stage with an uphill finish, where I was 10th.
The last stage was on a circuit, like a criterium... a lot of sharp corners, fast descents and steep hills. Because it was quite dangerous I positioned myself in the top 5 the whole race, also to slow the bunch down, because we had one rider in the breakaway.
At the end I'm super happy with the result, finishing 8th on GC and winning the U23 category.
I felt strong everyday and had a lot of fun. I also learnt a lot which gives me a lot of confidence for the upcoming races. The result of the ITT motivates me to work even harder on my TT qualities to make it onto the podium next time.