For my first stage race I would be teaming up with Annika Langvad and I couldn't be more excited. She's a legend at XC racing as well as marathon and stage racing, so I knew just how luck a was to share this adventure with her. We had four days of racing ahead of us, starting with a time trial, then two distance days, and finishing with a XCO race.
Stage 1 - XCT: Distance: 19.5Km | Ascent: +470m
On day one, Annika and I put in an all out effort for the time trail. It was a thrill to be racing at such high speeds on the beautiful terrain in Cyprus and this landed us in the lead with a two minute gap. We were in a good position to move into the rest of the stages, plus the excitement and good energy from our team contributed to our motivation!
Stage 2 - XCP: Distance: 59.3Km | Ascent: +1540m
With the unique rules of the Cyprus Sunshine Cup, there is no separation limit between teammates which changes the tactics of the event. In the second stage the field stayed in a large group until the bottom of the large final climb. Kate and Erin on the Scott team had a flat and the rest of the riders split apart as the intensity went up. Annika rode away up the climb and I fought hard to finish in second place. Our combined times put us back on the top step for the stage.
Stage 3 - XCP: Distance: 63.3Km | Ascent: +1550m
Stage 3 turned out to be one of the most exciting days of racing! After riding as a large group in the beginning, Annika and I made a big attack early in the race. We pushed hard and used both of our strengths to maintain our lead all the way to the finish. I was in awe with Annika's racing style. Although we had a lead in the overall GC, she took risks and never settled. We fought hard to win each day and this made us unstoppable!
Stage 4 -XCO
The final stage was no less exciting than the rest. The XCO style of racing that we all know best created tight battles and unpredictable results. Annika once again showed what she is capable of and took off early in the race. I was able to break away from the rest of the field with two laps to go and held on for a second place finish. We were so so STOKED to win the overall GC after taking every stage win and it was a special experience to share.
I'm leaving Cyprus with tired legs and a very happy heart! I had no idea what to expect going into this event and I absolutely surprised myself. Sometimes you never know what you're capable of until you try! This was a great way to get the 2020 season started and we had unbeatable support from the entire Specialized Racing Team. Exciting times ahead!!