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Emilia Fahlin second in Emakumeen Bira stage three breakaway

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Emilia Fahlin took second place in the third stage of the Emakumeen Bira, in Aretxabaleta, northwest Spain, as part of a successful ten-rider breakaway group. The former Swedish Champion was just beaten to the line by Amy Pieters (Boels-Dolmans) as the end of the wet, hilly, 114km stage, but managed to come past Clara Koppenburg (Cervélo-Bigla) to hold on to second.

“It was bit unexpected, so I’m happy, really happy,” said Fahlin, who spends most of her time in races working for her teammates. “Then you can always punish yourself for the things you could have done better in the final, of course. I made a couple of little mistakes in the final, and I’m a little bit disappointed about that, but in the end, it’s a bike race and you’ve got to do everything right if you’re able to win.

“Amy’s a really good rider to be beaten by, and this type of finish is her forte,” Fahlin conceded. “She’s super strong in this type of final, and she got my wheel coming in today. She got the jump earlier and I got closed in a bit.”

Fahlin last came up against Pieters in a sprint finish at the end of the Crescent Vårgårda race, in her native Sweden. That time Fahlin got the upper hand, but admitted that the Dutch rider got the better of her this time.

“In Sweden a couple of years ago she led me out perfectly, and today she took my wheel instead,” she said.

“I had some ground to make up when they started to sprint and I got closed in, but I’m quite happy that I could come around and find the gap to at least get the second place.

“But it’s not every day that I get up on the WorldTour podium, so that’s pretty cool!”

Fahlin’s break went clear mid-way through the stage, at the foot of the third and hardest climb of Arlaban Mendatea after the peloton had been reduced to less than 40 riders. With Lisa Brennauer, Elisa Longo Borghini and Martina Ritter all present, and high up in the general classification, the Swedish rider took the opportunity to escape.

“I felt really good throughout the race, and the opportunity opened when the break went away so it was nice to be able to get into the position to play it out,” Fahlin explained. “It’s good to get the experience, and get the chances, and you learn from it every time. To get the little fire in there from being up there in the final and racing for the win, it’s really good to get to experience once in a while.”

Brennauer won the sprint for eleventh place, to take more points towards her Orange Jersey, as the reduced peloton arrived at the finish two minutes and one second behind the breakaway. She, Longo Borghini and Ritter remain well positioned in the general classification as the race heads into the final, and hardest stage.

“Tomorrow is the big one, we’ve got the nasty climb coming up, with the Urkiola,” Fahlin explained. “I think for sure tomorrow’s the day for the GC to be battled out, and we’ve still got pretty good options for that.

“Elisa said she felt a whole lot better today, so that’s a good sign that she’s coming around, and I think we’ll be up for the challenge tomorrow!”

Result
1. Amy Pieters (Boels-Dolmans)
2. Emilia Fahlin (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)
3. Clara Koppenburg (Cervélo-Bigla)

Photo Credit: Vélofocus

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