Israel Premier Tech Roland rider Claire Steels looked puzzled when she was told she had taken the Strava QOM at the top of Jebel Hafeet.
At the UAE Tour Women , the 36-year-old had climbed to an impressive 11th place on Saturday’s third stage. The ride, however, had been far from smooth.
“I had mechanical issues at the bottom, so had to stop a couple of times,” she told Cycling Weekly at the start of stage four. “It was just an issue with the bike. The gears jammed, the chain jammed, I couldn’t pedal.
“The group was getting further and further away. I closed a little bit, then had to stop, closed a little bit, then had to stop again.”
Steels’s account of the climb sounded nothing like a smooth stab at the QOM. So how, given the dominance of Trek-Segafredo duo Gaia Realini and Elisa Longo-Borghini , did she take the segment?
Well, as it turns out, she didn’t. After Steels finished her pre-race interviews, one of her Israel Premier Tech Roland mechanics approached Cycling Weekly.
What had really happened, he explained, was that after Steels’s first mechanical, her bike, along with her GPS computer, was loaded onto the team car. From there, it was driven to the finish line with her ride data still recording. Her bike may have gotten to the finish fastest, but she wasn’t on it. All of the top five Strava times on Jebel Hafeet were taken at the UAE Tour Women. In the end, the 9.22km segment […]
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