Alison Jackson triumphs in sprint after crash-strewn Stage 2

Alison-Jackson-2024-Vuelta-Femenina-Finish

In a gripping second stage of La Vuelta Femenina, spanning 118.3 kilometres from Bunyol to Moncófar, Alison Jackson of EF Education-Cannondale emerged victorious in a reduced sprint finish. The stage featured a significant challenge with the ascent of Puerto de L’Oronet, which became a pivotal point in the race.

The day began with aggressive early racing, leading to a breakaway of six riders by kilometre 26. This group included Idoia Eraso of Laboral Kutxa-Fundación Euskadi, alongside riders from diverse teams like Human Powered Health, Bepink-Bongioanni, VolkerWessels, Lotto Dstny Ladies, and Winspace. Despite a valiant effort, their lead, which once neared three minutes, began to close as the peloton, driven by Team DSM-Firmenich PostNL and targeting the safe positioning of sprinter Charlotte Kool, pulled them back into contention.

Allione Eraso Oro 2024 Vuelta Femenina Stage 2
Marine Allione, Idoia Eraso, Andrea Oro

The intensity increased as the riders approached the Puerto de L’Oronet, with the breakaway’s advantage diminishing under the pressure. It was here that Idoia Eraso attempted a solo break, but her efforts were neutralised before the summit, around kilometre 76 of the stage. The rigorous pace set by the leading teams, especially Team Visma-Lease a Bike, played a crucial role in fragmenting the peloton, resulting in only 45 riders cresting the climb together.

Charlotte Kool, who had been a strong contender, was distanced on the climb and ended up in a chasing group. Despite her team’s efforts to reconnect, Kool and her group could not close the gap and she was notably absent from the final sprint.

As the race neared its conclusion, Anneke Dijkstra of VolkerWessels Women’s Pro Cycling Team launched an attack and briefly led through the intermediate sprint at Alfara de la Baronia but was caught with 22 kilometres remaining to the finish. The final kilometres saw multiple crashes that disrupted the sprint preparation, affecting several top contenders and reshaping the lead group dynamics.

In the tumultuous final sprint in Moncófar, Alison Jackson skillfully navigated through the chaos to clinch the stage win. She triumphed over Blanka Vas of Team SD Worx-Protime, who collected enough bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint and the finish to don the red jersey as the new overall race leader.

Rider Reactions

Jackson described her triumph amidst the day’s adversities, saying, “I came in with a real fire to win this. My teammates took care of me right from the beginning to the finish. When the crashes were happening, I kept being safe, playing it smart. In the final, the group caught the four of us who made it through the crashes first. My teammate Kristen Faulkner went full gas at 500 metres. She is so strong, I knew that no one would be able to come around. I got to choose my sprint when I wanted, and it’s unbelievable to come away with the win.”

The race saw a new leader as Blanka Vas of SD Worx-Protime claimed the red jersey after gaining bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint and finish, showcasing her tactical calls in a highly technical finale. Vas remarked on her performance, stating, “I had not the best legs today, yet I managed to grab some crucial bonus seconds. It was a very technical finale and that is to my advantage.”

Karlijn Swinkels of UAE Team ADQ also made headlines, securing third place and taking the lead in the Queen of the Mountains classification.

The final kilometres were fraught with tension and crashes, impacting several key riders and teams. It’s now confirmed that Anna Henderson suffered a broken collarbone in today’s crashes.

Juliette Labous from Team DSM-Firmenich PostNL, who finished 15th, shared, “Today was a pretty fast day. When the breakaway went, we immediately started to control the gap with Abi especially and did quite a good job keeping it small. Everybody did their best on the climb, and Charlotte almost made it over the top with the front group. Unfortunately, she missed a few metres, and then we got held up by the crashes in the final and couldn’t sprint for the win. Fortunately, none of us crashed and we will look ahead towards our next chances already.”

The stage’s dramatic conclusion did not deter the spirits of the competitors, with all teams now regrouping and looking forward to the challenges of the upcoming stages. The fine margins between triumph and disappointment highlighted the intensity and unpredictability of La Vuelta Femenina, promising more thrilling racing action in the days to come.

2024 Vuelta Espana Femenina Stage 2 result

Results powered by FirstCycling.com