After maintaining strong form all season, Claire Steels secured the win she has fought so hard for with a stunning solo victory at reVolta.
The 36-year-old British climber showed her climbing prowess to attack on the final category one climb of the day and ride the final 30 kilometers solo and cross the line in Sant Cugat with her arms raised in celebration.
“It’s fantastic. It’s my first win for the team, and it’s my first professional win. It’s great, I’m just really really happy. I live in Mallorca, so racing in Spain always feels like racing at home, and a good friend of mine is part of the race organisation, so it really means a lot,” explained Steels.
The 127-kilometer race featured three categorized climbs and almost 2000m of elevation, with the final climb providing the perfect launchpad for Steels’ attack after the breakaway was caught.
“It’s a really lovely race, a really nice course. It was an attritional race. There was a thinning of the group and then in the final climb when we caught the breakaway, the team had talked about a point on the climb that would be a good place to attack, and as the race panned out it worked out well. I went and I was hoping someone would go with me, because it’s a long way to go on your own! But I looked round and I was on my own, so I committed, and hoped that it stuck,” added Steels.
Steels highlighted the strong teamwork which put her in the position to attack, after IPTR’s newest rider Lizzie Stannard made the breakaway.
“I have to say it was a fantastic team effort, it was really really good. The team controlled the race and followed all the attacks. We had Lizzie (Stannard) in the break which lasted until the final climb, and then the girls controlled the race so well and timed it to perfection really, so it’s a fantastic team effort.”
Steels’ win gives the entire team confidence ahead of this week’s La Vuelta where Steels will be looking to repeat her success.