Megan Jastrab on debut WorldTour podium: ‘I felt like the finish line was never going to come’

The Olympic medalist and former junior world road champion kicks to her best WorldTour result so far.

Photo: Luc Claessen/Getty Images

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WEVELGEM, Belgium (VN) — Megan Jastrab kicked to her best road racing result with second Sunday at Gent-Wevelgem.

The 21-year-old Olympian at Team DSM punched onto her first WorldTour podium by winning the reduced bunch sprint behind winner Marlen Reusser (SD Worx).

“I knew I was going for a sprint,” Jastrab said at the line. “I thought it was a great opportunity and I felt like the finish line was never going to come, it finally did. It was really nice.”

Jastrab is roaring into the 2023 season, with third in a stage at Comunitat Valenciana and fourth at Classic Brugge-De Panne.

Sunday’s long-distance race through cold, wind, rain, and crashes made for a tough race.

The former junior world road champion is proving she deserves a spot in the WorldTour.

“It’s really exciting. I like a hard race,” she said. “I don’t think I am one of the strongest riders out there but if you get through it when all the other riders are struggling, it can give you a little edge.”

Team DSM was more than pleased with how its promising American talent performed in such adverse conditions.

“Megan on the road showed she’s really strong in this race. The crashes took out Georgi Pfeiffer’s chance to win but we still knew second was possible,” said sport director Kelvin Dekker. “They gave everything in the last 20 kilometers. It got very exciting in the final 10 kilometers when they were both there and then a bit scary in the last kilometer but Megan did an amazing sprint to get second.

“Today that’s the best result possible and before we probably would have signed for this. All in all a good day for the team, as well as Megan and Pfeiffer.”

Jastrab is racing a full season on the road after taking bronze in the 2020 Olympic Games in team pursuit, and is hoping to finally earn her first pro win.

Following a string podiums, her second place at Gent-Wevelgem confirms she can handle the longer distance of the classics and still have some pep in the legs to win out of a reduced bunch.

“The team was really great today, they did so much work early on to keep us safe,” Jastrab said. “I was very gassed at the end but I committed to the sprint and gave my all to get that podium.

“Then with less than a kilometer to go I saw there was a group coming back.But everyone was gassed at the end having had to put in a big effort just to be there.”

Up next are the Ronde van Vlaanderen and the Amstel Gold Race.

American rider Megan Jastrab hit second for her first major WorldTour podium Sunday at Gent-Wevelgem. (Getty Images)

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