Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Emilia Fahlin finished an incredible fourth in today’s World Championship Elite Women’s Road Race in Innsbruck, Austria. Clad in the yellow and blue of her National Team, the Swedish Champion joined a breakaway group with around 50km to go, as the peloton approached the second of three ascents of the Iglis climb, and managed to stay clear of the peloton as the race-winning move was made by the Netherlands’ Anna van der Breggen.
“It’s been a really quite unreal day today!” Fahlin exclaimed. “I had such a good day on the bike, and I’ve really been enjoying the atmosphere that was on the climb. That was something we never really experience. It was just a vey good day, and I just really surprised myself with the result.
“I never thought I could be here, at this really, really tough World Championships, and grab a fourth place in the end!”
Fahlin was in the break with Polish Champion Malgorzata Jasinska, Italy’s Elena Pirrone, the Netherlands’ Ellen van Dijk and Australia’s Amanda Spratt, one of the pre-race favourites. They were caught and passed by an attack from van der Breggen mid way up the climb, then joined by 2009 World Champion Tatiana Guderzo of Italy, who replaced the dropped Pirrone, Canadian Karol-Ann Canuel and former Wiggle High5 rider Amy Pieters, who took the place of compatriot van Dijk.
“I hardly survived the first time up the circuit climb, and I was just a bit off the back in the last couple of km, but I didn’t give up and worked really hard to get back on the downhill,” Fahlin explained. “Finally just making it back I saw some opportunities moving and opening, with the attacks going on the left.
“It was mostly me and Jasinska who really did the work. The Italian sat on because we had Spratt in the break. Spratt did some work and also Ellen, but it was mostly Malga and me pulling.
“Then eventually we had Anna van der Breggen flying past and only Spratt who could try to follow. You had no idea at this moment what was going on behind you, and I thought the longer a head start I had on this climb the better. It was my only chance to be a step ahead today.”
Spratt followed van der Breggen, while a late attack from Guderzo saw the Italian ride to the bronze medal. Fahlin, Canuel and Jasinska stayed clear of the peloton, however, and the Swedish champion easily won the sprint for fourth.
“I really dug deep, and died a hundred times today,” Fahlin laughed. “I’ve been suffering a lot, and emptying everything I had left. I’ve definitely got no regrets for the day, and I came out with a way nicer result than I ever could have imagined.
“It was pretty cool racing, even at one point for the medals, but I emptied myself really so much before, and I have no regrets doing it because I still feel like fourth place is way better than I could hope for!”
Fahlin’s incredible fourth place in the World Championships comes at the end of a fantastic period of racing for the Swedish Champion, which has included several podium places in the Ladies’ Tour of Norway and the Lotto Belgium Tour.
“I normally like the second half of the season, and I normally come through quite strong,” Fahlin explained. “So it’s a pity to hang up the wheels already and have the season finish! I’ve had a year that I didn’t expect to be so good, and that’s a really nice thing to feel that I’ve got another level out of myself!
“I still feel like I’ve got a lot to improve and that’s really motivating for the next season!”
Photo Credit: Vélofocus