Tessa Neefjes delivered an impressive performance at the Dutch Gravel Championship on Saturday, finishing third and earning a spot on the podium after suffering a nail puncture in lap one. Held in Banholt, South Limburg, the course featured a challenging 15-kilometer loop with 110 meters of elevation per lap.
The Liv Racing Collective athlete had marked this race as one of her season's major objectives, she spared no effort in her preparations, saying, "This was one of my big goals of the season, so I had really good preparations for this race. First I was in altitude in Livigno at the beginning of August, this week I arrived early in Banholt to do some good recons of the race." With high race day temperatures, Neefjes also had a well-equipped support team stationed throughout the course, providing her with ice blocks, and water to battle the heat.
However, the race took an unexpected twist for Neefjes when she suffered a tire puncture early in the race, she continued with low tire pressure, determined to secure her spot on the podium. "It was bad luck to get a nail in my tire, I wanted to get on the national podium so eagerly but wheel changing is not allowed, so I gave my all on the 0.7 bar tire pressure."
Despite the setback, Neefjes ultimately finished in third place behind Fem van Empel and Pauliena Rooijakkers. "It was disappointing I couldn't battle for the Dutch Champion jersey at the end because of the nail, but I love the course in Banholt and I'm happy with my third place behind such strong riders."
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