The final stage of the Internationale LOTTO Thüringen Ladies Tour in Germany saw Rushlee Buchanan produce a brilliant performance to finish third on the stage. It brought to an end a strong week of racing from UnitedHealthcare who came away with a stage win, 5th overall and the QOM win for Tayler Wiles as well. We spoke to Rushlee after the stage.
RC: First of all congratulations on your podium in Germany. Had stage 6 been one that you’d targeted from the beginning of the Tour?
Rushlee: The last stage of any tour is always a toss up between a breakaway going up the road because teams are tired or nothing going because everyone wants to have a last chance to win! We set out for an aggressive race, our game plan more or less every stage! The whole team was attacking and it was one of my moves that went. It was quite a big break so I’m actually surprised we were let go, 11 riders.
Once I knew it was sticking I had to switch brains to sprinter mentality! It was a technical finish from a downhill into a typical European small town down alley ways and then on to cobbles. I backed my track strength and went reasonably early entering the town. I was passed just at the line by the other two, who are great people and great riders so it was okay to share the podium with them haha. I had to give it my best shot and I did. I wanted the win, for myself and the team, but everyone wants the win!
RC: Tell us about the team in Germany. What did you aim to achieve as a whole and how do you feel you met those objectives?
Rushlee: Thüringen was our 2nd tour of this trip, we did Tour de Feminin in the Czech Republic where Ruth won the tour and Tayler was 2nd. The whole team had a good trip and we were strong throughout and able to race aggressively. We came to Europe to continue the strong streak we had in the USA and we achieved that.
RC: Tayler Wiles had a strong race, taking the Queen of the Mountains, a stage win and fifth overall. Tell us about Tayler and what she’s like as a teammate and leader.
Rushlee: Yes Tayler had a great race, she’s riding super strong and I’m happy to see her achieve some of her goals here. As you know it’s a team effort though and all of us were strong these past few weeks. This race is hilly and one that Tayler had targeted but one that the whole team was ready to come and fight for.
RC: Talk us through your mentality in the stage and how you progressed as the stage went on.
Rushlee: We all have our good days and our struggle days so as long as everyone is in to win then you get through well. Days like today you know everyone is hurting so you just have to remember that and be in the moment. That’s how I got in the break, you don’t give up, you follow wheels until it’s impossible to pedal and then you follow moves or attack. It’s about being in the race and being in the moment, when you’re in the moment you forget about how much your whole body hurts! I race the best when I’m like that, just racing my bike and that’s all that I can think about. It’s not everyday all day of course but today it was and I went with it!
I’m happy with my podium spot, especially at the end of a tough block of racing, it was interesting to see how you progress mentally and physically through the tour, important learning, even for myself who’s been racing for a while now! UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling had good results all around here in Europe and I’m just happy to contribute to such a successful team.