Deborah Paine’s first one-day UCI event with Cogeas-Mettler Pro Cycling Team got off to a very strong start at the Winston Salem Cycling Classic. 8th across the line, Paine also rode away with the QOM classification on a day that saw two of the team feature in the top ten.
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It’s fair to say that Deborah Paine is adapting to life at the top level of cycling pretty well. From the Amgen Tour of California, where Paine supported three teammates into the top 20 overall, and was part of an outfit that finished second in the team classification.
At Winston Salem it was again a case of playing a support role for teammate Edwige Pitel. “My role going into the race was to be attentive, follow any dangerous moves and wait for the big attacks to happen on the final laps. We knew our key rider was going to be Edwige and I was likely to be the last one standing in support of her,” Deborah told us post-race.
The course of the Winston Salem Cycling Classic consisted of eight laps of a just-over 12km circuit; each one featuring a QOM climb, 600m in length and averaging 6.8%. What began as a supporting role for Pitel became an opportunity for Paine as the Kiwi began to take points, starting on lap 2.
“I was positioned well on the second lap and decided to give the QOM a crack, then managed to pick up points in the following laps as well, sealing the deal,” Paine explained.
Focused on the end result, however, the race would be defined by a small group attack that took off from the peloton. “Attacks started to fly with 3 laps to go, and I found myself in the break as the field splintered,” Paine said. From that group a solo attack from Leigh Ann Ganzar sealed the race, with Paine crossing the line 8th and Pitel 9th.
Paine’s result is a great sign of things to come, and the runner-up at the Elite & U23 Road National Championships in Napier is being careful to keep her feet grounded. “I’ve got plenty to learn from, but I’m happy with my development so far and excited for what the future holds,” Deborah said.