A Close Look at Vuelta Femenina 2024 Stage 2

The Vuelta Femenina 2024’s Stage 2 offers a complex route that could significantly impact early race dynamics. The stage extends from Buñol to Moncofa, spanning 118.2 kilometres. Notably, it features the Puerto de L’Oronet climb, a Category 3 ascent that rises 5.9 kilometres with an average gradient of 4.3%, culminating 73.9 kilometres into the stage, leaving 44.3 kilometres to the finish.

This climb tests the sprinters, potentially disrupting the peloton and offering opportunities for all-rounders and climbers to secure valuable seconds. Riders such as Marianne Vos, renowned for her adeptness on mixed terrains, and Blanka Vas, a climbing specialist, might find this stage particularly suited to their strengths.

Also of note is the finely poised battle for the leader’s red jersey. Whilst no knockout blows will be landed in the GC, the top 12 riders will start Stage 2 on the same time with another 5 from SD Worx just 1 second back. Even someone like Mareille Meijering in 42nd place and 12 seconds back could mathematically earn enough bonus seconds to take over the lead by the end of tomorrow.

The intermediate sprint comes after the Oronet climb, so expect to see attacks launched to either nullify or earn those bonus seconds (6-4-2) before a sprint to the finish line where 10-6-4 bonus seconds are available to the top 3 finishers. Marianne Vos will certainly fancy her chances, whilst overnight leader Gaia Realini might have to give up the jersey.

2024 Vuelta Femenina Stage 2 Profile


2024 Vuelta Femenina Stage 2 Contenders

Sprinters like Charlotte Kool and Emma Norsgaard must strategically manage their energy over the climb to vie for the stage win. Their teams may focus on energy conservation early in the race to enable a robust finish.

This stage is as much about tactics as physicality. Riders like Maike van der Duin and Le Samyn des Dames winner Vittoria Guazzini could leverage the post-Oronet descent to control the race tempo and ensure that dropped riders are unable to return. They can use their strong Canyon SRAM and FDJ-Suez teams to deliver that. Maggie Coles-Lyster, another sprinter with climbing ability, could use this stage to highlight her capabilities.

Charlotte Kool
Charlotte Kool

The geographical route, combined with forecasted temperatures of 12 to 15°C, light rain, and winds up to 31 km/h, will challenge the riders’ tactical decisions, particularly in bike handling across the descent and the flat run-in to Moncofa. A not particularly technical stage, the descent on the Oronet will be the major part of ensuring GC riders stay safe during the day.

The layout of the stage, with its notable climb, descent, and flat finish, mirrors historical stages in grand tours where diverse terrains have led to surprising results. This setup benefits versatile riders and those skilled in classic spring races. This season, Marianne Vos has excelled in sprints, taking victories at Omloop het Nieuwsblad, Dwars Door Vlaanderen, and Amstel Gold Race. Charlotte Kool, despite lacking a win this year, remains a top contender, especially in the absence of Lorena Wiebes and Elisa Balsamo.