Els Àngels debuted as a team on Sunday with a win at the first round of the Copa Catalana in Ripoll. A super strong Tere was the first woman to complete the 40km course, which at face value appeared very short, however with the climbs of Coll de Santigosa and Coll de Cannes making up 600m of elevation, it made for a very hard racing! Women usually race with juniors for the Copa Catalana however this particular race was with the younger cadets as the juniors completed two laps of the course.
We arrived at the race HQ in Ripoll with everyone motivated and excited about the first race as a team, after pinning numbers and attaching chips we warmed up together on the road and chatted about tactics. It was a windy day but not too chilly, completely different from the blanket of snow that was covering the ground just a few days before.
The race began at quite a high pace with a few surges as a few riders attempted attacks on the rolling road out to St Joan Les Abadesses, Tere kept her position at the front of the peloton with Amy, Louise and Aranka not far behind. As the race took the sharp right-hand turn to the bottom of the deciding climb, Coll de Santigosa, the bunch was mostly all together and took the first section of the climb at a relatively reserved pace. However, at around the half-way mark the pace ramped up and splits began to form, Tere held onto the select front group which would be the deciding move with Amy in the second, Louise in the third and Aranka, who was racing despite being set back by illness, not far behind.
In the front group, Tere was with riders from rival teams Catema.cat and Probike Club as well as a number of cadets and used her descending skills to distance herself from the other women she says: “On the road to Sant Joan I tried to stay in a good position for the climb, during the first climb I tried to stay with the front group but towards the top I was distanced by them so I took the climb at my own rhythm and on the descent I worked hard to re-join the group. Afterwards, on the second climb I found myself in the same situation at around 100m from the top but when we started the descent to Vallfogona I caught the group again and then passed them, taking the whole descent in front. On the flat section I tried to recover in the wheels and then I attacked again on the last descent in Ripoll, when we arrived in Ripoll I saw that there wasn’t a big enough gap to take the win so I tried to position myself well in the wheels for the sprint. On the roundabout five cadets passed on the left and I followed their wheels to the finish.” Tere took the win from Julia Casas (Probike) with Ariana Gilabert (Catema.cat) in third.
Tere was followed 3’ later by Amy who placed 6th F-Elite, 9th Fem and 35th overall: “I am really pleased with this result especially as it’s the first race of the season and my first race here, Tere taking the win is such a fantastic start for the team and is extra motivation for the races to come. I had a great time racing with such strong women and I can’t wait for more racing together!”
Louise finished just after taking 10th place in the F-Elite category, 14th Fem and 41st overall, she said of the race: “Starting our first race as Els Angels Racing was always going to be a proud achievement. Each rider put in a performance to be proud of and for Tere to come away with the win and the lead of the Copa Catalana is a perfect start to the season for us! Els Angels Racing is all about the riders supporting each other to achieve their racing goals, be it simply getting to the start line or winning the sprint. I couldn’t be happier with how the team are riding together and we’re all looking forward to the year ahead.”
Aranka showed how tough she is, suffering through illness but determined to finish she came in 22nd F-Elite, 38th Fem and 78th overall she said: “Unfortunately I got sick last Monday and found out I have a bacterial throat infection, I was given antibiotics and told to rest as much as possible but I had been looking forward to the race for weeks and I wasn’t going to miss it. It was so nice to see my teammates and to be able to show off our beautiful kits. I stayed with the peloton untill the first climb, which was a great learning experience. The climbing was really hard, my body was just too sick so I couldn’t ride to my full potential. But on the descent I had loads of fun, and was happy I pushed through. When I crossed the finish line I was totally destroyed but it was worth it and when I heard Tere won the race I felt so much better! She did amazing especially since it was her first race in years. It is so nice to be in a team with such strong Ladies! I’m also proud of Amy and Louise who both rode a strong race. I am so happy to be part of the team and am looking forward to motivating each other and racing together in the future!”
Tere’s result means that she is now leading the Copa Catalana and will be defending the jersey with the help of the team at the next two rounds in Pals on the 24th March and Barcelona on the 25th.
You can follow the team at @els_angels_racing on Instagram and Facebook.
Read more about the race on L’Esportiu: http://www.lesportiudecatalunya.cat/mes-esport/article/1351503-estrena-brillant-a-ripoll.html