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Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Trek-Segafredo) was left stunned and surprised after she was awarded the win at the Postnord Vårgårda WestSweden on Sunday having initially finished second behind Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) in the sprint for the line.
The French rider crossed the line in second place but almost 45 minutes after the initial result Vos was disqualified by UCI officials for breaking the so-called ‘puppy paws’ rule about 13 kilometres from the finish.
Vos had been spotted bringing her forearms down to her bars, her fingers over the front wheel: ‘puppy paws’, i.e. a position that was banned by the UCI in 2021.
“To be honest, I have a mixed feeling,” Cordon-Ragot said at the finish after she was bumped from second to first.
“I’m super happy for the race I did, super proud of the performance of my teammates. We showed our strength with an amazing teamwork and my role was to finalize the huge work they did. That, for me, was the most important thing happened today and what I’ll retain from the race.
It looked like Marianne Vos had won #VargardaWWT for the 4th time, but the Dutch rider was disqualified for using the illegal ‘puppy paws’ position.
Was it a harsh decision? pic.twitter.com/gCeiW1pJci
— GCN Racing (@GcnRacing) August 7, 2022
“On the other side, it’s a strange situation. After the finish line I was happy for my second place, and I am still proud of it. I had no regrets because I was beat by the strongest rider in the peloton at the moment. I was definitely not embarrassed to be second. But then I was told I was the winner and my name will be on the palmares. Chapeau to Marianne, because she was the first who recognized that a rule is rule and accepted the sanction.”
While the result and the disqualification will be the source of major discussion and disagreement over the coming days and weeks, especially given the fact that Vos was not pulled from the race immediately after her infraction, Cordon-Ragot was still proud of her overall performance.
“I feel this day, with my good performance and the win, even if unexpected, it’s a good reward for the efforts and sacrifices I did since the beginning of the year. Winning or not, I feel today it’s a day to enjoy. I’m not proud and happy because I won, but because me and my team rode strong,” she said.
“In the briefing of the morning we agreed that we would need an aggressive approach to have a chance for a win against strong and on form competitors like Vos and Wiebes. We needed to play a different strategy. I think we did an amazing job to make it happen. Every lap of the final circuit we attacked, with Ellen and me waiting until the lasts laps. To be honest, I thought that was my only way to have a chance against her… but Marianne is Marianne, and she won.
“The rest of the history, after the finish line, is already known.”