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Pushing boundaries in Sweden – Tour of Uppsala 2019 | SWABO Elite

A race like the Tour of Uppsala does not get the attention of a race like the Tour of Flanders or Emakumeen Bira. It won’t generate as many headlines as some other races, but the significance of it should not be underestimated.

It is in races like these where tomorrow’s champions can stand up. We can’t look in the future either, so we don’t know if one of SWABO’s elite riders will be regarded as a big cycling champion in a few years. But we do know that all riders showed huge progression last week in Sweden.

The results speak for themselves: Hanneke de Goeje sprinted to her first UCI podium in the second stage of the Tour of Uppsala and a day later Phaedra Krol finished fifth in the final stage. After a well-deserved rest day, Inez Beijer also rode to a fantastic fourth place in the Skandis GP, perhaps Europe’s toughest criterium.

But of course, results only tell part of the story. Every member of the team brought their A-game to the race and everyone worked hard to push their own limits. Back at home Phaedra Krol still is staggered by Laura van Regenmortel’s performance, for example.

“She crashed hard on the first day of the race. But even with bruised ribs she was able to soldier on and get her act back together. She was crazy strong this week. Without her, I don’t think I would have been fifth in the final stage.”

Krol goes back to the final stage of the Tour of Uppsala, where she managed to sprint to her best UCI result so far. “After the first two stages, I was still placed well in the general classification. But the route did not really suit me, so I honestly did not think I could stay there.” Still, the 19-year old put her best foot forward and she managed to survive all of the climbs thanks to good positioning and the help of teammates. “Laura first said she did not feel too well, but later in the race, she refound her legs. She even went on the offensive! And when Laura was eventually reeled in she still managed to guide me over the first climb and rode me to the front again before the final climb.”

“This race showed me where teamwork, willpower and the right mindset can lead to”

It was only on the final hill of the race that Van Regenmortel’s energy had run out. “At least that’s what I thought. But on the run-in to the sprint, she suddenly was back in the bunch again. Seriously, what an absolute legend!” Krol praises her 26-year old teammate. “I focused on her wheel and then started the sprint early. It is a pity that the escaped riders who went away on the climb were not brought back in the final kilometres, but in the end I can certainly live with fifth place.”

Krol says she learned an important lesson this week: “Usually when it’s not my type of parcours, I would not have been up there in the sprint. I would be dropped on one of the hills and that would be the end of that. But now, while I was defending my position in the GC, I discovered that I can do more than what I think. The key to my best result in a UCI race so far was fighting spirit. I went to the front time after time to not be dropped on the hills. And then, in the end, I almost managed to win the bunch sprint. If you told me that before the race I would not have thought that would be possible, but here we are.”

“This race has really opened my eyes”, a very happy Krol concludes. “This race showed me where teamwork, willpower and the right mindset can lead to.”

Myrthe Willemsen has also reasons to be happy about her performance. While she doesn’t have the results to come home with like De Goeje or Krol, the Tour of Uppsala was still a big milestone for her. “I honestly did not think I was able to finish a UCI stage race, so I exceeded my expectations. Besides that, I was able to ride in the front of the peloton a lot and I helped the girls as good as I can. This race showed me that I am capable of more than I think.”

Willemsen also praises her teammates. “They really helped me a lot during the race, so I think we all benefitted of each other. Obviously, we all have a lot to learn as relatively inexperienced cyclists, but we are really motivated to get better every single day. The most noticeable thing we have improved upon massively is communication, I think. We all kept each other focused during the races, and I feel that could be the main reason for our team’s success. I am very proud of our collective performance. I am sure these experiences will help us perform better in upcoming races.”

Results SWABO Women Development Elite Team in Tour of Uppsala

Stage 1:
14. Phaedra Krol
22. Myrthe Willemsen
28. Hanneke de Goeje
62. Inez Beijer
68. Laura van Regenmortel
DNF. Marise Lagendijk

Stage 2:
3. Hanneke de Goeje
7. Phaedra Krol
49. Laura van Regenmortel
51. Inez Beijer
57. Myrthe Willemsen

Stage 3:

5. Phaedra Krol
9. Hanneke de Goeje
13. Inez Beijer
37. Laura van Regenmortel
45. Myrthe Willemsen

General classification 2019 Tour of Uppsala:
13. Phaedra Krol
21. Hanneke de Goeje
41. Inez Beijer
42. Myrthe Willemsen
45. Laura van Regenmortel

Skandis GP
4. Inez Beijer
6. Phaedra Krol
10. Laura van Regenmortel
15. Marise Lagendijk
16. Myrthe Willemsen