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Itzulia Women: Pauliena Rooijakkers ‘really thankful’ for her team after finishing second overall

Canyon-SRAM won the Queen of the Mountains classification, which went to Elise Chabbey.

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Pauliena Rooijakkers (Canyon-SRAM) is known for being one of the most aggressive riders in the peloton, regularly featuring in breakaways whenever the road climbs upwards.

That attacking mentality paid dividends at the Itzulia Women as Rooijakkers finished second overall – 47 seconds behind the winner Demi Vollering – after she bridged across to the lone leader with Vollering 10km from the finish of Stage 1 and took second in the sprint for victory.

Also read: Itzulia Women: Demi Vollering wins stage 3 and overall

Rooijakkers finished fourth the next day, and a tenth place on Stage 3 was enough to seal her spot on the overall podium.

“I’m so happy to take second place in the GC, I’m really happy about it,” a delighted Rooijakkers said after the race. “The girls in the team were working so hard for me today and I’m thankful for them and the team.”

As well as taking second overall, Canyon-SRAM won the Queen of the Mountains classification, which went to Elise Chabbey.

“We performed really well,” Rooijakkers said after the race. “I think we were six really strong riders working really hard and to take the polka dot jersey home, it is also a really special prize for the team. I’m really thankful for the girls and we showed that we were really strong to take control of the race.”

Chabbey took the polka-dot jersey on Stage 2 after she took maximum points on four out of the six classified climbs of the day.

It was a lumpy three days for the peloton in the Basque country as the race tackled 13 classified climbs in total. Such terrain suits Rooijakkers who has previously excelled in the region including a seventh place finish at Donostia San Sebastian Klasikoa last year.

“I love the Basque country, it’s my favorite racing area,” Rooijakkers said. “I feel really nice and the crowds are crazy. It is a beautiful country.”