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Aggressive Emilia Fahlin just misses out on final Lotto Belgium Tour podium

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Emilia Fahlin just missed out on the final podium of the Lotto Belgium Tour, despite an aggressive display in the third stage in Geraardsbergen. The Swedish Champion finished third on the day, behind Liane Lippert of Germany and French Champion Aude Biannic (Movistar Team), but was just unable to take enough time out of Lotte Kopecky (Lotto-Soudal) in the general classification to push the Belgian out of third place.

“I’m a bit sad and disappointed, obviously, I would have liked to have finished it off better,” Fahlin said of her third place on the stage and fourth overall. “I had hopes that maybe we could have come out on top, but it was just simply too stronger riders today.

“I think it was another good day of bike racing,” she added. “Racing around the Muur in Geraardsbergen is always iconic racing in itself. It was a hard day, quite short with a lot of climbing at the end. It was a tough last day.”

As in the previous two stages, Fahlin was protected by her Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling teammates throughout the technical opening loop of the 72.8km stage, and onto the Geraardsbergen finishing circuit. Fahlin tried to break the group of leaders on the penultimate climb of the Muur, but was just unable to go with Lippert and Biannic as they escaped on the following lap.

“The girls really rode beyond their limits on such a course today, they really, really tried and worked super hard,” Fahlin said. “Those two girls rode away the last time up the Muur, and I was just behind with Kopecky, [Alison] Jackson (Tibco-SVB) and [Malgorzata] Jasinska (Movistar) – who didn’t work because she had Aude in the front.

“We just couldn’t get properly rotating straight away,” the Swedish Champion explained. “It would have been good to have a couple more in the chase to get the momentum, but they were gone. They were really, really strong today and that’s it.”

Fahlin’s third place meant that she was the only rider to finish on the podium of every stage of the 2018 Lotto Belgium Tour. Although the final podium, and a stage victory just eluded the Swedish Champion, it is a continuation of excellent recent results that also saw her finish second in the UCI Women’s WorldTour Tour of Norway.

“I’m still pleased to get another podium, although I would like to change all the podiums for just one win if I could,” she laughed. “But it’s nice to be consistent and get some podiums, which is not very often, so it’s been super-nice this last month of racing to actually get a lot of podium results and have your mindset on actually racing for yourself.

“It’s challenging, it’s a different mindset for me. I’ve enjoyed it, but it also comes with a bit of pressure and being nervous. But I had such a nice group around me to keep it really relaxed and calm this week.”

Fahlin’s best results for many years come after her having taken the Swedish Championship for the third time. She admits that racing in the blue and yellow cross jersey has added a little extra motivation to the already good form that she has at this stage of the season.

“It’s been really lifting me, having the champion’s jersey!” she agreed. “I’ve had a stronger season all year, and I’ve really managed to come around in the second half. I always seem to be able to go well in the second half, but this is better than any other year and it’s cool to find myself in the top end of the racing again!”

Result
1. Liane Lippert (Germany)
2. Aude Biannic (Movistar Team)
3. Emilia Fahlin (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)

Final General Classification
1. Liane Lippert (Germany)
2. Aude Biannic (Movistar Team)
3. Lotte Kopecky (Lotto-Soudal)
4. Emilia Fahlin (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)

Photo Credit: Anton Vos

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