First Victory For AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step U23

Eline van Rooijen won the Zuiderzee Ronde on Saturday, netting the first win for the AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step U23 team. Noëlle Ruetschi, Mirre Knaven, Yuli van der Molen, Maureen Arens, Febe Jooris, Jade Linthoudt and Eline all lined up for the start of this race in the north of the Netherlands. They were led by sports director Christian Kos.

“Our youngsters rode a very good race,” Kos concluded. “Over the past few races we have really emphasised the cooperation and that went perfectly today. Unfortunately, Noëlle crashed hard and went to the hospital for a check-up and Jade was behind a crash, but the other riders rode as a unit. They then finished it off perfectly, which is a huge boost for the team.”

Eline herself was of course also very pleased. Last season she rode strong races and was in contention, but the win did not come. Her success at the weekend meant she could finally dedicate the victory to her deceased uncle, Jan.

“When it broke at the front of the peloton due to a crash, five of us were very attentive at the front,” Eline said afterwards. “We owed it to our team’s status to make the race and so we did. Mirre, Febe, Maureen and Yuli countered and joined attacks and together we controlled everything. When it turned into a sprint, they set up a great lead-out for me. I actually had the easiest job of the day after that. I just had to get out of the wheel and win. This is a huge boost for the team and for myself because of course I want to take that step up to elite level. That is the main goal this season so this is a very good start.”

Noëlle Ruetschi, third in the Volta Limburg Classic, crashed. “She crashed hard,” reported team doctor Sophie van Bakel. “She is stable, but we had additional scans taken in hospital. Luckily nothing was broken.”

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