Marie Vilmann confirms talent on Mur de Huy
23-year-old Marie Vilmann formed part of the team that animated Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday. The race is known for its steep finish up the Mur de Huy but the team knew it couldn’t wait for the tough climb if it was to have a chance of a result.
Allie Dragoo was the first rider from the team to form part of an attack. Her breakaway with three others lasted 60 kilometres until Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio bridged the gap and the two Cervélo Bigla riders formed a train with one other towards the first ascent of the Mur de Huy.
When the move was brought back, it was Marie’s turn to attack.
“A rider from Lensworld attacked and Ashleigh yelled ‘go Marie.’” As the race got into the final moments, she remained out front over the hilly terrain for 12 kilometres. “When the chasing group caught us I managed to stay with the favourites except for the three who rode away. I did everything I could to keep Ashleigh in the front. She went away on the Mur de Huy and I could see her in the front. I was trying to ride as hard as I could to the top.”
While Ashleigh first created an aggressive race then was more impressive to still finish sixth, she was more pleased with Marie’s performance. “Marie put in an exceptional effort. I’m really proud of how she went today. I said to her today was the perfect day for her and the kind of race she can do well in.”
Team Manager, Thomas Campana said the performance is a confirmation of her talent and gave some insight into developing her. “Marie is an unbelievable athlete, especially when it comes to endurance and climbing. Unfortunately, she doubts that she is that good. Step by step we are working on her confidence. We already started in November in South Africa and she gets more confidence all the time. Today was a breakthrough. It was an attack that I wanted from her and she kept going for five kilometres into the wind then over the second last climb. You can’t be an average rider and be in the lead for 12 kilometres and make a top 15 on the Mur de Huy. That is the special point, it was on the Mur de Huy. It’s the confirmation that she is a future world class rider. We will see much more from her.”
Marie’s concluding remarks is that she will draw confidence from the result. She mentions Amstel Gold Race and Tour of Flanders as races that were particularly tough for her.
“I’ve been struggling with my confidence so I’m really happy that I could help the team today much more than I did in those two races. I’m really happy about it. I wish I could have closed that gap so Ashleigh could have been top 3 but maybe next time it will happen.”