Faulkner Solos to Victory

Kristen Faulkner powered to stage 4 victory at the Vuelta a España Femenina, moving up to third on GC after a long-range solo attack. She saw her chance and never looked back.

The American countered a move by the GC favourites going into the final climb of stage four, achieved a gap of a few bike lengths and powered all the way to finish to take a spectacular stage win in the Spanish grand tour. After Alison Jackson’s win on stage two, this Vuelta keeps getting better for EF Education-Cannondale.

“We came here to try to win some stages and we’ve already won two,” Kristen said after celebrating with her teammates. “It’s early in the Vuelta and we are already so excited and so proud of what we’ve accomplished so far.”

Today’s win took both tactics and guts. Wind was howling across the Spanish plain as the peloton set out from Molina de Aragón, heading for Zaragoza. The race soon exploded into echelons.

“It was actually right after a town,” Kristen said. “Our DS made sure we were in good position in that town, and as soon as the town was up, SD Worx went straight to the front and destroyed it. Fortunately, Alison and I were in good position and were able to make the front group. And after there on it was just a fight with the group and cooperate with the group. There was one point where the gap came down to 30 seconds and we tried to rally people and it went back out.”

The final kilometres came down to instinct and Kristen’s raw power. She jumped at the perfect moment and rode her fiercest rivals off her wheel.

“I knew I wanted to make a last minute attack,” Kristen said. “I knew that climb was a place where a lot of people wanted to attack so I decided instead of attacking myself to follow. SD Workx tried a few attacks and I kind of hopped wheels, and Reusser and Longo Borghini tried one. We had a small gap, and I knew that this was the counter attack I had to be on. It was right before the climb and it was a great moment.”

After the finish, Kristen and her teammates shared another great moment. Their first grand tour together is going better than they could have dreamed. Kristen is now third on GC, just nine seconds behind the overall race lead with four stages left in this Vuelta España Femenina. The team will be hoping this momentum keeps on going!

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