In a exceptional comeback to skilled biking, Lotta Henttala (née Lepistö) has captured two second-place podium finishes within the opening phases at Setmana Valenciana, and is only one step away from victory.
“All in all, I’m pleased with as we speak. Fascinated by how final yr a comeback wasn’t even on my thoughts, and now this. It’s so nice to be a part of this crew, and it simply looks like gold being again,” Henttala stated after ending second to former World Champion Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) on stage 2 into Vila-Actual.
Henttala made her return to the ladies’s skilled peloton at the beginning of this yr with AG Insurance coverage-Soudal-QuickStep following a interval away from the game to have her baby. She additionally cited burnout as a purpose for her absence from racing.
“It was tremendous particular to have Olavi there,” Henttala stated. “It’s tremendous good to be again, but it surely’s hectic with a peloton of 160. I want to search out my place and rhythm once more, which is regular, after all.”
She has had a profitable racing profession, most notably successful Gent-Wevelgem in 2017 and two phases of the Girls’s Tour as effectively ending on the rostrum in a number of different races, together with the World Championships street race, RideLondon Classique and La Course.
She raced for groups Bigla and Trek-Segafredo earlier than becoming a member of Ceratizit-WNT Professional Biking in 2021. She certified for the Tokyo Olympic Video games as the only Finnish consultant within the ladies’s street race however was unable to race after she turned pregnant together with her son, Olavi.
The Setana Valenciana marks her first race with AG Insurance coverage-Soudal-QuickStep, a three-tier programme that features an under-19, under-23 and elite Continental crew.
Henttala sprinted to second place within the two opening phases, ending each instances behind Balsamo. As well as, her crew AG Insurance coverage-Soudal-QuickStep confirmed their early-season strengths within the closing kilometres of stage 2 with a strong leadout to rival WorldTour outfits Trek-Segafreo, Jumbo-Visma and UAE Workforce ADQ.
“Yesterday we misplaced one another within the last. Now we arrange the dash practice ourselves and dropped her off very effectively. There are positively nonetheless issues to work on, but it surely appears very promising. That is already spectacular, contemplating now we have a brand new squad. To date, I’m very impressed,” stated director and former professional racer Jolien D’hoore.