Clasica de Almeria History
There isn’t much of a history of the Clasica de Almeria, mainly because it hasn’t been held before! There isn’t even a note of a national level race that this year’s event has risen up from. There is a men’s Clasica de Almeria and it’s no doubt come about as a result of the success of that race. Unlike the Vuelta CV Feminas which packed a serious punch, Clasica de Almeria has a rise in the middle before drifting back down with a gentle rise towards the end to test the tiredness in the legs.
With 1600 metres of elevation, it’s certainly not a flat race but we should see a decent sized bunch contest the sprint like we saw at the Women Cycling Pro Costa de Almeria.
Clasica de Almeria 2023 Profile
Clasica de Almeria 2023 Contenders
It’s tough to see past the Movistar pairing of Arlenis Sierra and Floortje Mackaij here. We know Mackaij is in stellar form after winning the Vuelta CV Feminas and this parcours certainly poses no issues for a rider who can get over La Frontera in the first group on the road. She’s joined this time, not by Liane Lippert who is racing in the UAE, but by Cuban rider Arlenis Sierra. She’s not necessarily a pure sprinter but in this sort of hilly race, it’s tough to see many others with a quicker finish. It’s her first race of the season so there’s no indicator of form yet, however.
ED Education-TIBCO-SVB went strangely missing at the Vuelta CV Feminas with Alison Jackson their best rider in 20th. I was somewhat surprised that Veronica Ewers couldn’t crest the La Frontera climb closer to the front of the race but it is early season. I still like Veronica Ewers as a strong rider but this one should fall more into the laps of Alison Jackson and Letizia Borghesi. I kinda think Borghesi is the better finisher and it’s hard to pick one over the other here but Jackson just about led home Borghesi last weekend.
Audrey Cordon-Ragot will continue to do well here after 3rd at Women Cycling Pro Costa de Almeria and 6th on Vuelta CV Feminas. It’s the first time the team has been split with additional duties over in the UAE at the same time. Cordon-Ragot should lead the team in Almeria with maybe Lucie Jounier supporting her in the sprint too. The French duo can link up well, with Jounier likely to improve on her 21st place at Vuelta CV Feminas.
Audrey Cordon-Ragot is racing at the UAE Tour Women, of course, despite also being on this start list so expect Lucie Jounier to get the best result!
In theory, a sprint finish won’t suit Erica Magnaldi one bit but 4th at Vuelta CV Feminas is an indicator of decent form by the Italian. The climbs here probably aren’t tough enough for her to get clear but at the same time, they won’t cause her any issues. The late rise will give her a chance to be in the front group no matter what happens.
Sigrid Ytterhus Haugset has started the season well for Coop-Hitec with 14th at Costa de Almeria and 12th at Vuelta CV Feminas. That’s a strong start for the 23-year-old who is new to the team. 13th in GC at the Tour de l’Ardeche last season is a sign that the Norwegian might be a genuine all-rounder.
After a DNF at the Vuelta CV Feminas, this race should be better suited for Laboral Kutxa’s Yurani Blanco Calbet. The Spanish rider was 8th at the Women Cycling Pro Costa de Almeria. With the Clasica de Almeria closer in parcours to that race, I think we’re likely to see a repeat of that performance.
Silvia Zanardi is showing on the startlist for BePink but the Italian will be racing the points race in the evening session of the European Track Championships the night before Clasica de Almeria. It feels a bit of a leap to expect to see her make a last-ditch flight down to Spain from Switzerland and be ready to race. If she does make it to Spain, she would be a solid podium bet.
Zanardi has unsurprisingly come off the start list!
Aranza Villalon has started the season well for the catchily named Eneicat-CM Team-Seguros Deportivos team. 12th in the Costa de Almeria (a race she won at the national level in 2022), she did very well to make the top-10 at Vuelta CV Feminas and finished 9th. She’s traditionally been more of a threat in the national-level Spanish races but with a more spread-out field here thanks to the concurrent UAE Tour, we should see her around the top-10 once again.
Finally, Catalina Soto Campos of Bizkaia Durango is potentially a threat in this sort of race. 22nd at Costa de Almeria, the Chilean has a decent finishing kick that should come in handy here if the bunch stays together a bit more. She’s similar in some ways to her fellow Chilean Villalon in delivering mostly in those national level Spanish races last year, including 2 wins, but also has top-10s against a stronger field at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana in the past too.
I’m hyped to see what Emma Jeffers can do this season. Only 18 years old, the Brit impressed in the Tour Series last season by winning 2 rounds despite racing on junior gears. Jeffers also won the junior version of Plouay and 4th at the junior version of Gent Wevelgem. It will be interesting to see how she gets on in her first Elite UCI race.