Her advantage over the peloton grew so large that she was the virtual GC leader for a while, but in the end, the 28-year-old lost the two-rider sprint for the stage win to Niamh Fisher-Black (Team SD Worx). She also finished one spot off the overall podium by seven seconds.
“To be honest, having Marlen [Reusser] and Demi [Vollering] behind you, two huge engines, I knew that I would have to be lucky. If they would puncture or something would happen, but of course you never wish anything like that on your opponent,” Niewiadoma said realistically about her chances of taking the yellow jersey off Reusser’s shoulders.
“So I was hoping that maybe their legs would blow up because it was really hot today, and I felt like I was cramping, so I was hoping that maybe others would as well.”
Nevertheless, Reusser had to spring into action herself when Vollering’s work couldn’t reduce the gap. And though the outcome wasn’t in her favour, Niewiadoma put her mark on the race, forcing the other riders to react.
“I enjoyed the racing here. After the ITT, I felt disappointed because I knew that I had good legs, I just had a bad day that day. I am happy that I was able to come around and play a nice role in the race.
“I felt very good all the time, I was just waiting for the right moment to go. And I was really happy to have Tiffany [Cromwell] in the front. When I was bridging across, she did an amazing job to set me up before the climb. That was excellent teamwork,” she thanked her teammate from the early breakaway.
Niewiadoma’s last individual victory was more than four years ago, occuring on June 13, 2019 when she won stage 4 of The Women’s Tour. She has amassed 12 second places and 10 third places since, often missing out on victory by small margins. After the 2022 season, she admitted that not having a race victory that year upset her, and she changed her winter training programme slightly ahead of 2023.
In the spring, she performed well consistently, placing sixth in Strade Bianche, fifth in the Tour of Flanders, and fourth in the Amstel Gold Race before finishing on the Itzulia Women GC podium.
Being runner-up on the final stage of the Tour de Suisse Women was not what Niewiadoma came for, but it is another step forward towards victory. Always racing aggressively, she is not someone to wait for opportunities but tries and tries again to make her own luck, and this attitude makes the sport more exciting to watch.