Leah Kirchmann second overall at Festival Elsy Jacobs

After starting Festival Elsy Jacobs with a Team DSM 1-2 finish on Friday, Leah Kirchmann stepped into a leading role for the team. The Canadian rode consistently, with two podiums in three days.

With a top-10 finish in Sunday’s final stage in Luxembourg, Kirchmann finishes Festival Elsy Jacobs places second in the overall standings.

Saturday Sprints

After starting well on Friday, Team DSM’s plans were derailed Saturday when, 70km from the finish, Lorena Wiebes crashed while in the race lead. Wiebes returned to the race and helped reel in a chase group but fell out of the race lead by the days end.

Kirchmann, left to take over for Team DSM, immediately stepped into the role. The Canadian, who traded her national TT champ jersey for the race’s green jersey Saturday, fought through a chaotic uphill sprint finish to finish third. Movistar’s Emma Norsgaard took the sprint win, and the GC lead with it. Kirchmann’s second podium in as many days put her third overall, two seconds back of the Danish sprinter.

Sunday’s fight for GC

On the final day or facing at Festival Elsy Jacobs, Kirchmann led Team DSM’s hopes of an overall placing. The Canadian showed great patience, not panicing when a group of 18 escaped near the finish. Kirchmann saved her legs as the team pulled back the front group.

With the race coming down to a sprint finish, all was even. After two solid days of racing, Kirchmann held close to the front to finish seventh in the race to the line.

With her second, third and seventh place finishes, Kirchmann ends the Luxembourg stage race in second overall, 14 seconds behind Norsgaard.

“Today was a tough fought race and I’m glad that I could finish off the weekend with second place on GC!” Kirchmann shared after Sunday’s stage. “It was quite an aggressive stage since the overall was still within seconds. The race really exploded on the local laps, and unfortunately I ended up in the second group. Juliette rode really strong to represent the team in the front group. There were some moments that I thought the race might be done, but I didn’t give up fighting, and we finally made contact going into the final lap. In the sprint, I chose to follow Norsgaard, but didn’t have the legs in the end to place better. Overall, I think we can be happy with what we accomplished as a team this week.”

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Credits : cyclingmagazine.ca

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