First race, first win for EF Education-Cannondale
Noemi Rüegg wins the Trofeo Felanitx-Colònia de Sant Jordi
We couldn’t have written a more perfect script.
In our first race as a team, after a day-long show of teamwork, lead-out woman Noemi Rüegg kept a cool head in the chaotic final kilometer of the Trofeo Felanitx-Colònia de Sant Jordi and sprinted ahead of the peloton to give EF Education-Cannondale the win in the team’s debut race.
“You guys won!” she said to her almost astonished teammates, as they gathered round her for a group hug after the finish. Coryn Labecki gave her the biggest hug of all. The team’s plan had been for Coryn to sprint, but she lost Noemi’s wheel in the throng of speeding riders racing towards the finish line. Noemi kept her eye on the prize and pulled off the win.
“The last few kilometers were super fast,” Noemi said, on her way back to the hotel to celebrate with her teammates. “We actually wanted to sprint for Coryn, and I would have been the last leadout for her, but then she lost Alison and me a bit in the last kilometer. I didn’t even realize. After Alison pulled off, I just kept a good position on the other teams’ wheels, and then I started my sprint and thought, Coryn will pull past me pretty soon, but then she didn’t, and I thought, wow, I actually have a few meters’ gap, so I will just keep going, and then, I won. It is crazy!”
This was Noemi’s first-ever win too. She was overwhelmed by how happy her teammates were for her.
“They were freaking out, maybe a bit more than me, because I didn’t even celebrate,” Noemi said. “I didn’t put my hands in the air at the finish line, because I was like, ‘this cannot be true; I didn’t just win.’ They were super happy and I am glad that they are happy because they are also such a big part of this and I could not have done this without them. We had control over the race from the start and kept communicating and motivating each other. There were some crosswinds as well where we were all in the front, but it was not enough to really split the peloton. And then we had the plan to go for the intermediate sprints for myself and the team did super well, giving me really good lead outs so I could collect some points. We came here with no pressure, just to get to know each other in the race, so to finish it off like this is really amazing. I think it really shows our team spirit that we built in such a short amount of time and we just have such a good group. You really feel that in the race today, that we really like each other and we support each other and we really go for each other. That was so nice to experience in the first race. It felt like we had been racing together for a long time, but it was actually our first time.”
That team spirit is exactly what EF Education-Cannondale GM Esra Tromp was hoping to create when we started this team. Over the past few months, Esra has watched the riders and staff come together with a shared sense of purpose. Their dedication and professionalism is second to none. This win is the first reward.
“I am super proud of how the ladies have started their season,” Esra says. “We’re a new team. Everything is new for everybody, and this is the perfect start. It’s amazing. It gives a good vibe and a good flow for the rest of the season. I am just super proud of all the riders and the staff who have been working already for a few months to make this a team.”
Next up is the Trofeo Palma Fémina tomorrow, where Noemi and her EF Education-Cannondale teammates will race for their second-ever win as a team.