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Veronica Ewers is on fire at the moment and the American rider continued her superb run of success with a win at the Navarra Women’s Elite Classics.
The EF Education-TIBCO-SVB rider soloed to her second pro victory at the one-day hilly Spanish race after making it into a small group, which caught breakaway rider Mireia Benito (Massi Tactic), with two BikeExchange-Jayco riders.
Ewers dug deep on the final ascent to push clear of her companions with 9.5km remaining. Benito cracked immediately while both BikeExchange riders, Ane Santesteban and Kristen Faulkner, tried to follow. But the 27-year-old was well gone and by the time she reached the finish line she has some 35 seconds on Santesteban with Faulkner almost a minute back in third.
“I was like, ‘Oh my god, my legs, I’m dying,’” Ewers said. “Everything hurt but I thought if I give up right now, I’m going to disappoint my teammates. Just knowing that my teammates were behind me and basically looking for me to get the win at that point motivated me a lot. Just thinking about the whole team, including the staff, that kept me going.
“Tim [Harris, team DS] was in my ear the whole time saying, ‘you have to go, you have to go, keep going, keep pushing.’ I’m so glad for that because I was absolutely dying in those last nine kilometers after attacking on the final climb. It was rough.”
Ewers is in just her first full season as a professional rider after enjoying a breakthrough ride at the U.S. road nationals last season before making her pro debut at the Joe Martin Stage Race in August. A former soccer player and runner, she was still working at a children’s hospital in Seattle at the beginning of last year.
After being forced to sit out part of the spring with a fractured elbow, Ewers returned to racing action at the Festival Elsy Jacobs at the end of April. She would go on to take her first pro victory at the three-day race in Luxembourg, attacking a strong group of favorites in the final kilometers of the last stage.
Ewers was also on the podium earlier this week at Emakumeen Nafarroako, finishing second behind Movistar’s Sarah Gigante.
At Elsy Jacobs, Ewers had little time to celebrate her victory with just eight seconds back to the chasing back behind. However, there was plenty of time for her to enjoy her win into Pamplona and celebrate it fully.
“It was fun to be able to post up today and really take it in. With 50 meters to go, I turned around and saw that I had time, so I posted up,” she says. “This all feels a little foreign although today it felt particularly good. I don’t know why. It felt really good today.”
Ewers will now go on to race at the inaugural Itzulia Women where she will now be one of the favorites for the podium.