Lepistö wins WorldTour Race, Gent Wevelgem
Sunday proved to be a historic day for Cervélo Bigla Pro Cycling Team as Lotta Lepistö scored a major victory. The Finnish national champion won Gent Wevelgem, a UCI WorldTour race, the highest ranking for women’s cycling.
The result comes after the inform Lepistö won Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday. The victory is the team's first ever in the WorldTour in what is the best start to the season in its history with four victories to date.
"This race was my goal," a delighted Lepistö said after the podium celebrations. "I was focussed on winning it. It’s a race that suits me and last year I was close but made a mistake and I told myself that won’t happen again. So today I made sure I was in the front. Flanders is Flanders and anything can happen but this was my goal and we agreed to target today and I got it. I am really satisfied. Three weeks ago I told Christina [Pertchold] I want to win this race, she texted me yesterday and said keep your promise."
Despite numerous attacks, the race eventually came down to a bunch sprint. Cervélo Bigla Pro Cycling Team was well represented in the front group of the 146km race. Gent Wevelgem featured five climbs, with the Kemmelberg and Monteberg navigated twice.
"We had five girls in the front group. They did an amazing job. Stephie [Pohl] did the leadouts to the Kemmelberg, Marie [Vilmann] our climber here in Flanders attacked after the climbs to put pressure on the group, Cecilie [Uttrup Ludwig] waited for me in the climbs and brought me to the front because I wanted to ride them at my own pace. She covered a million attacks. Lisa [Klein] is my tandem, she is always with me. Ashleigh [Moolman-Pasio] coming back from injury and being in all the attacks and keeping me calm. She always has the right things to say, telling me to relax, it’s not my turn to go into a group. Thomas in the car had a really good tactic and believed in us. This is another team victory." Lepistö concluded.
More good news emerged at the finish as the UCI confirmed Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig's lead in the youth classification.
Team Manager, Thomas Campana
The is a good start. It’s overwhelming. The team really drove the victory on Wednesday and gave their all so today they were tired. We have a lot of young riders, this is a very young group if you look at the average age. Lisa Klein is 20 years old and made it into the final, she was cramping but she supported Lotta all the way. These are 140km races and this young group wins. It’s amazing. The success is overwhelming for me and the staff. We’re very happy that the riders we’ve developed over the years are winning and our talent scouting is working.
For us it’s important to develop step by step. The talent we signed 3 years ago are starting to win big now, in front of some big riders. There were a lot of attacks and counter attacks and they kept it together for Lotta. To have a sprint victory is very sweet.