Heartbreak for Kiesenhofer after 159km solo breakaway at Ceratizit Challenge

Heartbreak for Kiesenhofer after 159km solo breakaway at Ceratizit Challenge
It was a deja-vu experience watching stage 4 at Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta as Anna Kiesenhofer went on a 159km solo breakaway that almost secured her the day's victory. Her breakaway effort, which won her the most combatitive rider award for stage 4, was reminiscent of the spectacular performance that earned her the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games last July. "I am SO DEAD.
But this is how I like to race. Attack at KM0, 155km solo, caught 1km before the line,” Kiesenhofer wrote in a post on TwitterKiesenhofer is currently racing at the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta as a guest rider for the UCI Continental Soltec Team. She has been racing professionally, without a registered trade team, under personal sponsors Swiss Krono Group, Raiffeisen Bank International, Factor bikes, Isadore apparel, Favero Assioma, Sponser sport food, WhatShop and ABRÖ.
She competed in a select calendar of races, targeting the Austrian National Championships, where she finished second in the road race and time trial, and UEC European Championships, where she was fifth in the time trial. Read MoreSilvia Persico dominates uphill sprint to win stage 4 at Ceratizit Challenge Anna Kiesenhofer the anti-authoritarian 'mastermind' of her own Olympic glory Anna Kiesenhofer: Mathematician, amateur cyclist, Olympic champion She is currently competing at the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta, as an opportunity to compete in the opening team time trial and to target the hillier stages. She will next turn her attention to the UCI Road World Championships in the time trial on September 18 and the Chrono des Nations on October 16.
She also noted on her website that she set up an "invisible" project, a network of people to help her with aspects of her performance, including training, recovery and equipment. Kiesenhofer has undertaken what some deem as an unconventional approach to her professional cycling career. She does not target ambitions of racing full-time under contract for a registered trade team, nor do her goals necessarily revolve around the Women's WorldTour.
An inspirational video message she posted on Instagram reminded people that everyone's goals are important, no matter how big or small. "Sometimes people come to me and start saying: 'I also like cycling but I'm not like you, I'm only a hobby cyclist. I'm only training for a small races.
'"And when I hear that, it almost makes me a bit sad because there is no 'only' when it comes to goals. There is no 'only a hobby cyclist'. There is no 'only a small race'.
"It's really about what is important to you. It's not about what kind of medal you get in the end. Whether it says Tokyo on it, whether it's from a Gran Fondo.
"It's the obstacles that you have to overcome to get there that are important. "At the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta, Kiesenhofer was part of the Soltec Team in the opening team time trial. She also finished 15th in stage 2's mountainous race to Colindres and 20th on stage 3 at Aguilar de Campoo.
On stage 4's 160. 4km from Palencia to the hilltop finish in Segovia, Kiesenhofer went on the attack soon after the flag was dropped and quickly increased her gap to the peloton. She dominated stage 4 with a 159km solo breakaway that gained an advantage of up to 9:30 minutes, with 90km to go she was the virtual GC leader having overtaken time on red jersey Annemiek van Vleuten.
She was caught just before the flamme rouge, finished 31st, and video footage showed her collapse over the finish line due to her exhaustion from her effort. She displayed strength, persistence and grit to the very end, in the same way she had done at the Olympic Games. She may not have won this time but her performance, once again, inspired many.
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