Austria’s Laura Stigger secured a home win in the junior women’s road race at the UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck on Thursday. It was her second world title victory this month after securing the rainbow jersey in mountain biking just two weeks ago in Switzerland.
“It’s incredible to win in my hometown,” Stigger said after her victory. “Thanks to the people for standing on the course and cheering me on. It’s a very tight victory. My legs were burning in the sprint. This morning I didn’t believe I had any chance of winning because it’s only my second road race. I just wanted to have fun, and now I’m the world champion. It’s unbelievable.”
The junior women raced 71.7km along a gently rolling course that also included two main climbs; the first took the field up to Gnadewald, a 5km ascent with sections as steep as 14 per cent, and the second was a climb to Lans that crested to the top 10km from the finish line.
Stigger was part of the day’s main breakaway and attacked over the final climb, but in the end, the race came down to a four-way sprint. Stigger proved fastest racing across the line ahead of France’s Marie le Net and Canada’s Simone Boilard, while Italy’s Barbara Malcotti had to settle for fourth place.
“My legs were hurting. I thought that I would just give my best, but in the background, I thought about there being four of us, and perhaps that meant not getting a medal. I gave everything and so to get the gold medal is crazy,” Stigger said.
Stigger spends her season focused on mountain biking and won the world title in the junior women’s cross-country race at the World Championships in Lenzerheide, Switzerland two weeks ago.
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