CANYON//SRAM racing and I will start the 2018 road season with the four-day stage race; Setmana Ciclista Valenciana in Spain. The race starts on the Thursday 22nd February and will run until the Sunday 25th February. I will line up alongside Alena Amialiusik, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, Kasia Niewiadoma, Tanja Erath and Christa Riffel.
The tour at a glance:
Stage 1 Rótova - Gandía. A 118km stage with two climbs each 6km in length. The second from Barx has an average gradient of 6% with the summit coming only 13km's from the finish line. This stage could shape the GC for the remainder of the race.
Stage 2 Castelló - Vila Real. A 115km day based around the coastal town of Castelló. It's anticipated as a possible stage for the sprinters however the 7km 8% climb of Desert de Les Palmes comes 45kms from the finish and could add some drama. Four corners in the final kilometre may play into the cards for a well-timed attack.
Stage 3 Sagunt - València. Spectators in the departure town of Sagunt will see the peloton for both intermediate sprints of the day. Then while the peloton climb the long but gradual, L'Oronet the spectators can make their way to the centre of Valencia where they'll see the winner cross the line after the 137km stage.
Stage 4 Benidorm - Benidorm. We will be back on familiar roads on the tour's final stage. We have had our recent team training camp based out of Benidorm so we have seen the final stage and know what to expect and I believe it will be a very challenging day. The three laps of the 38km circuit will decide the winner of the second edition of Setmana Ciclista Valenciana.
Watch the final of every stage here, or follow on Twitter with #SCV2018.
Kasia Niewiadoma, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot and I were in a 9-rider breakaway that, with more than three minutes advantage at one point, stayed away to the finish. I won the sprint ahead of Ashleigh Moolman (CBT), who also finished second on the general classification.
After losing the orange leader's jersey yesterday my motivation was high. We had a really cool team plan going into the final stage and we were all really excited for it.
The team had a lot of confidence in me which made me believe in myself too. I knew it was going to be a hard day but after all the work the staff and riders have put into this race, and also our recent training camp, I couldn't not give it everything. We've worked really hard as a team and this is a great reward for the riders and staff.
My next race will be Strade Bianchi on Saturday 3rd March.