The fourth stage of the Tour de France Femmes (Troyes – Bar-sur-Aube – 127 kilometres) will be remembered as a day of bad luck for Liv Racing Xstra. Jeanne Korevaar and Valerie Demey had a flat tyre at decisive moments in the race. The problems occurred on the gravel sections that turned this stage into a dusty ‘mini Strade Bianche’.
Jeanne Korevaar performed excellently in stage three and she was also exceptionally strong in stage four. Sports director Wim Stroetinga: “Jeanne said today: ‘I think these are the best legs I have ever had’. Everything went perfectly for her, until she had a flat tire on the last gravel section. At that moment she was in the front group, ready to take her moment. That puncture is very frustrating, especially because she has worked so hard to get to this high level. One day, though, all the puzzle pieces will fall into place for her.”
On the attack
Earlier in the stage, Valerie Demey chose to attack. Our Belgian rider made the smart move in the run-up to the first gravel zone, keeping her and two fellow escapees out of the hectic pace of the peloton. Unfortunately, a flat tyre prevented her from continuing the attack any longer.
“I made a lot of efforts today to go on the attack. After 40 kilometres there was a narrow road, which lent itself well to an attack. The rest of the team was well positioned on the front rows so a chase from the peloton had no chance. We soon had a two-minute gap. I was able to start on the first gravel section without too much stress. Unfortunately, I had a puncture on the gravel and was caught. The wheel change took a bit too long to join the group with Jeanne. I ended up in a chasing group and was forced to abandon my ambitions.”
The morale at Liv Racing Xstra remains excellent, despite today’s bad luck. Valerie Demey: “Tomorrow is another day. Then we’ll go for it again with 100 percent.” Wim Stroetinga: “Of course we are not the only team that had bad luck today. So you have to put it in perspective, although that is difficult now. We will see tonight and tomorrow morning how everyone recovers and then make new plans. Who knows, maybe we can put Rachele Barbieri in position for the bunch sprint on Thursday.”