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Tour de France Femmes

Marlen Reusser capitalizes on ‘perfect situation’ for Tour de France Femmes stage win

'I don't know if I realized I could win a Tour de France stage, actually not even this morning,' said the double Swiss national champion.

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BAR-SUR-AUBE, France (VN) — As of Wednesday morning, Marlen Reusser had never considered winning a stage of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift.

“I don’t know if I realized I could win a Tour de France stage, actually not even this morning,” she said. “We went and we made a hard race, that was the goal — to create a situation that would put us in favor to try and make attacks. I just followed the process. We had this perfect situation.”

Winning stage 4 of the Tour de France Femmes is now another highlight in Reusser’s short yet illustrious pro racing career.

The 30-year-old time trial specialist and Swiss double national champ came to cycling later in life, but in a short span has added both Olympic and world championship silver to her palmarès. 

Now, she can add a Tour de France Femmes stage race to the quiver.

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Reusser spent the latter half of the stage — notable for a handful of gravel sectors and punchy climbs — in a small group where multiple attacks by GC riders failed to stick.

“It was the plan of the team to really make the race hard and still it was very difficult, especially when we entered the first sectors of the first climb,” she said. “To get it organized we were not all so well-positioned, but then slowly and slowly we really rode it from the front and created this situation that we wanted. We wanted to have our GC riders up there but accompanied with still as many as possible, ideally six — we were five.

“Then, as I said, it’s clear we need to make use of this situation, so I was not the only one of our team to attack, we all attacked multiple times and this attack that went clear was also a bit of luck.”

Reusser’s win came down to a well-timed attack between the sectors of gravel. She attacked just as the pace of the race eased and quickly built up a steady advantage.

Although she ultimately won by over a minute, Reusser said that wasn’t surprising.

“I think it’s always the same process,” she said. “Once people understand they want to make it, the time goes up. So before it’s difficult to get time because they chase, and once the chase gets slower you gain time and then it’s always the same. And I know this. And I also was thinking a bit about pacing … you can also flick people. It’s a game.”

Reusser proved again on Wednesday that she is good at the game. Yet the Swiss wouldn’t say whether a Tour de France stage was any more important than the other big wins in her career.

“I really don’t like to judge things or compare things, I think every one of these moments is special, and I really enjoy it,” she said. “But also I don’t overestimate it. I think life is the same before and after. It’s so nice to have this in your pocket and to go to this, but it’s just a nice thing in life.”