American Megan Jastrab takes second behind Marianne Vos in Scandinavia
The 20-year-old, who was the junior road race world champion in 2019, spent much of 2021 focusing on the track ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, but has been committed to the European road calendar this season.
Today’s runner-up finish was not only her first elite podium, but her first time in top-10 as a senior rider.
“I can’t believe what happened today,” Jastrab said. “I was given the opportunity to go for it if it came down to a sprint today. The team was looking for opportunities to get in breakaways, but in the end it was a sprint.”
Normally, Jastrab can be found as part of Lorena Wiebes’s imperious sprint train, but in the absence of both Wiebes and Team DSM’s second sprinter Charlotte Kool, she has a chance to race for herself in Scandinavia.
In the finale, Team DSM were one of the teams working to keep things together for a sprint for Jastrab, with Leah Kirchmann putting in a big effort on the front of the bunch into the final 5km.
“All of the girls and team fully backed me, and gave me the confidence that I was lacking to go for it,” Jastrab said. “The finish was extremely fast, but the girls kept me safe and well positioned on the circuits to set me up in the best position.”
In the absence of the likes of Kool, Pfeiffer Georgi and Franziska Koch, however, Jastrab did not have the full complement of DSM lead-out riders to take her to the finish in Helsingør.
Instead, she navigated much of the last 3km solo, following the right trains in the run-in to come off the wheel of Vos in the finale, just coming short of pipping the winner on the line.
This is Jastrab’s best result on the road, but just the latest in a long list of impressive achievements for the young American, including over 20 national titles on the track and the road and a bronze medal at the Olympic Games.
The general classification of the Tour of Scandinavia is expected to be decided in the hills, terrain Jastrab is less suited to, but she will have more chances to test her sprinting and attacking legs in the next few flatter days.