After clinching her first WorldTour podium last season, former British road champion Pfeiffer Georgi is eager to repeat the feat. This time, though, she wants the top step.
The 22-year-old, now in her fifth season at Team DSM, has taken up new leadership duties on the road, and feels stronger than ever. Speaking to Cycling Weekly, she explained that she has high hopes for this year's spring Classics.
“I had a really good winter and I think I’ve physically made a step up,” Georgi said ahead of Saturday's Ronde van Drenthe. “I had a good end of last season, but the first few races this year, especially [Omloop Het] Nieuwsblad and just coming back from Strade [Bianche], I feel like I’m able to be more in the race and be more in the final.”
At Omloop, the Brit was the only rider who dared to follow Lotte Kopecky’s attack on the Muur van Geraardsbergen. Georgi eventually crossed the line in fifth, her best result in the Belgian one-day race.
“The whole team went in for me fully from the beginning,” she said. “That’s a new role for me, because I’ve always been kind of support and then the road captain.
“It was my responsibility to follow the favourites. I just saw her [Kopecky] come past and I thought I might as well try. For me, in this role, I don’t really know where I’m at or where I am compared to others. I thought, ‘If I don’t try, I’m not going to know where I am.’ Yeah, I couldn’t keep up, but I tried at least.”
The following weekend, in her first outing at Strade Bianche, Georgi finished tenth, recording her third top 10 of the season.
The Team DSM rider pins her early-season form on a multitude of factors. “I moved to Girona in the winter and I feel like that’s kind of helped my climbing," she explained. "I feel like I've been able to get a lot of good quality training and exposure to that terrain, the longer climbs. That definitely shapes you a bit as a rider.
“Straight from off season, I started off with more [training] intensity than I have in previous years. Before, it was always just building base, getting the endurance miles in. I think now that I've got a pretty good base, I’m able to push it, the intensity, a bit earlier.
“I feel like I’ve really benefited because I can kind of make a step now I’ve already got the groundwork done.”
Another thing she seems to have benefited from is the departure of her team-mate Lorena Wiebes, who joined SD Worx at the start of the season.
Asked if the Dutchwoman’s move has altered her role in the team, Georgi said: “I think it definitely has. Now, I’m Charlotte [Kool]’s last lead-out, whereas before, I was a position back.
“Racing wise, I think it [Wiebes's move] allows us to be a bit more aggressive, and we’ve got Charlotte as the card, but we’ve also got a lot of other strong riders, me able to race in the Classics a bit more, which is a nice opportunity.”
With her new role, however, comes added pressure. “I think it helps that I’m not like a top favourite or a big name,” she said. “It’s more the pressure coming from myself. I kind of feel like, when all the girls ride for me all day, then I have a responsibility to perform, so that’s where the pressure comes from for me.”
“I’d love to podium in a Classic,” she said, when asked about her season ambitions. “That’s one of my goals for the spring this year. And also to win a race. I think last year was my first WorldTour podium [at Postnord Vårgårda WestSweden], so to be able to win a race, that would be a goal of mine.”
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