The city of Gran Premio in Ibar | Olivia Barrell’s first victory

Declaring victory requires daring. Even more so when you don’t have anything on the table. Obviously, Olivia Burrell doesn’t miss it.

Posted at 7:00 am

Simon Darwin

Simon Darwin

On April 11, at 8:33 am, his new sporting director sent him a text confirming his participation in the Gran Premio Ciudad de Eibar, which was held last Sunday in the Spanish Basque Country. Two minutes later, the Quebec cyclist replied: “Thank you, I won this race, that’s for sure.”

Screenshot provided by Olivia Barrell

Olivia Barrell’s response to her sporting director

I spoke about this classic with similar confidence during an interview with Journalism The day after he broke up with the Tour of Flanders at the beginning of April.

Even Charles Etienne Chretien, owner dear And coach, tell anyone who will listen that his girlfriend will win in Spain. His confidence was so great that he asked his sporting director to inform him in the middle of the race, in Belgium, when the victory would be confirmed…

Hi pressure? “I didn’t have any pressure because I knew I could win, but I had to,” Burrell said on Monday. I didn’t know exactly how to get there. »

I had to be patient and luck was on my side too.

Olivia Barrell

The 112.3 km event took place on a track you know “by heart”. For two months last summer, it remained close to a decisive ascent. In short, most Basques spoke knowingly.

When the Spaniard attacked Mavi Garcia (United Arab Emirates) at the beginning of the 4.5-kilometer climb, Barrell did not hesitate to respond. They are joined by Spanish champion Ane Santesban (BikeExchange) and Colombian Paula Andrea Patino (Movistar).

The cooperation was not good, according to Barrell’s account, and there were only three of them at the top. She tried to take advantage of her knowledge of the road to beat her opponents upon landing, but a headwind spoiled her efforts.

Anyway, she felt faster in the sprint than these two pure climbers. However, Serbian heroine Jelena Irich, who is from the Movistar team, joined them in the apartment.

Regardless, Barrell broke out in the three runs to claim his first-ever professional win in Europe. “Everything is working for me. I was really very happy.”

Photo from OLBARIL’s Instagram account

Olivia Barrell (right) in a full race

The Grand Premio Ciudad de Eibar is a 1.1 race, technically the third UCI class after the WorldTour and 1. Pro. Last year, Dutchman Anna van der Bregenn beat compatriot Animek van Vleuten and Italian Elisa Longo Borghini, who was essentially a tricycle at the time.

The plateau was lower this year. Out of the starting 18 teams, 5 were WorldTour level teams, without delegating their best elements.

Valcar Travel & Service, Italian Barrel formation, holds a Continental (Class II) license. She has recruited compatriot Rowen Noranda for her climbing skills, which sporting director Davide Arzini noted during last year’s San Sebastian Classic (21)And).

Sixteenth on his first attempt at Flèche Wallonne two weeks ago, Barrell confirmed his rise to the occasion by finishing seventh overall at the Ceratizit Elsy Jacobs Festival in Luxembourg last week. In the Basque Country, his team is dedicated “100%” to his cause.

This first professional victory is an important step for the 24-year-old cyclist. “I feel like before, but winning the race feels like something you have to do. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It’s a step. Then, it opened. There, I feel rejuvenated.” »

Photo from OLBARIL’s Instagram account

Olivia Barrell (centre) wears a Basque hat after her victory.

On the podium, Barrell was wearing a traditional Basque hat. She will try to win a second in the classic Emakumeen Nafarroako, the women’s race with the largest increase in altitude (+2856 meters over 137 kilometres), in Navarra, in the country of Miguel Indurain, five-time Tour de France winner. Her confidence was evident on the phone, but she was careful not to predict anything this time.

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