Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and the coolest jersey in the women's peloton

Women's cycling needs cyclists like Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, cyclists who are not only stars and reference in the race, but also outside the race, selling and explaining their work with contagious emotion and passion.

The Danish FDJ-SUEZ Futuroscope rider is living her best days, in golden times for her country's cycling and also for the girls. A sweet present that has a very concrete photo, that of a women's peloton under the Eiffel Tower, tobringthe Tour de France Femmesbackto the stage: 'It was a great experience - the cyclist begins by telling us -. It was the day that women's cycling had been waiting for so long. It was a dreamcome true.

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'To anyone in the street who talks about cycling, they will think, first of all, of the Tour de France,' she explains.

A feeling of happiness that grew as the days went by. 'This edition was very important for women's cycling. We were aware of it, in a feeling that, day after day, became clearer to us.'

The big Danish party in Paris

For Cecilie, that Sunday in July had an even more special significance. She took part, as we say, in the start of the Tour, but she did so shortly before Jonas Vingegaard was proclaimed winner and, to top it off, dressed in the great Danish flag, as national champion. Everyone was looking at her.

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'Jonas Vingegaard was about to win the Tour and when we went out on the course, there were already a lot of people, especially Danes, whom I identified by the flags. I would have signed up to do one more lap. A lot of people recognized me by the jersey I was wearing and shouted my name. It was an incredible moment of energy,' she says.

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Her Danish champion's jersey was a fixture in the race and in all the races she took part in. For her it is 'the most beautiful jersey in the peloton, for several reasons: I love the colors of my flag, but it also looks big and clean, without sponsors. It's simple. Wearing my flag in racesor in training gives me great pride and it's very gratifying to wear a jersey like that.'

'My jersey is cool,' she repeats.

As Cecilie reminds us, 'Denmark is crazy about cycling. It's the most popular sport. Winning the Tour is the icing on the cake, but we saw it at the start of the men's Tour with the amount of people who supported the race those days. Everyone is watching their cyclists and the nation is united in something like cycling.'

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A key player in the women's momentum

As we said at the beginning, Cecilie has distinguished herself for her unconventional charisma when it comes to talking about her profession. She is passionate and witty, like the time she described herself as a 'happy dead fish' when she took the podium at the Tour of Flanders a few years ago.

In this Tour de France, her intervention just after winning the third stage was memorable, a much-desired victory, because of where it was, but more so because of the horrible day the team had just experienced the day before.

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'That day was incredible. I will never forget it. We had had a very bad stage the day before, with Marta Cavalli crashing and losing time overall. We ended up pretty sad. But we turned it around, the next day I was able to do one of my best racesever', she recalls.

Her genius in front of the microphones, also contributes to the fact that women's cycling is in a good moment 'every year is better than the previous one, we are going in a good direction. You just have to see how it's growing, getting closer to men's cycling,' she continues.

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For her, 'the key is in television and the hours we are on screen. It's very important that people see us. It's very important that they appreciate that these are very exciting races. But we have to be patient, this takes time and we are talking about growing a sport. We'll see what happens with the awards and how they match up with the kids. It's all small steps to take.'

So take note, because Cecilie invites anyone who doesn't watch women's cycling to stop by and watch: 'All the racesare cool, from the classics to the Tour, no matter what race.'

One of her best seasons

In her third year at FDJ-SUEZ Futuroscope, Cecilie got to know Gobik's equipment first hand: 'They have a very nice product, I see it every day on my jersey, but the regular kit has everything, it's elegant and modern and looks great in the peloton'.

For her this 'has been one of my best seasons ever. It was a complicated start, but luckily the team worked well at that time. I was able to recover and come back in May, I was in the Giro and Tour de France, where I won the stage, plus the overall of the Tour of Scandinavia'.

The rider was one of the great cheerleaders of the World Cup in Australia: 'Racing there was special, my boyfriend is Australian. The race was very hard, it was not easy to be in front with so much hardness at the end. We all wanted more and in the end everyone did their own race.

For the future, she says: 'I want to be on the podium of the Tour de France and to be world champion'.

These days she rests in part, because 'cycling occupies much of my time and thoughts, but when I'm off the bike, I try to enjoy my family, something I love, and friends, who complete me. I also have a great time cooking.'

You can bet his best recipe is yet to come.

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