Another relatively new race in Spain, the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas will have only its 3rd edition at UCI level in 2022. The race’s history goes back a little further though, raced as a national level Spanish race with some big names on the previous winners list. Anna van der Breggen won the head to head against Annemiek van Vleuten last year. The climb up to Lagunas de Neila on the last stage was the major battleground.
With this year’s Itzulia Women, women’s racing in the Basque County has come full circle after quite a lot of change in recent years. We used to have the long-term staple of the Emakumeen Bira stage race which ran from 1988 to 2019. One of the major stage races, surprisingly given the climbing it was a race that neither Anna van der Breggen nor Annemiek van Vleuten ever actually won.
Liege Bastogne Liege Femmes is another relatively new race on the women’s calendar. First held in 2017, it gives riders the chance to cover roads raced by the men’s peloton in one of their monuments. Although the race is called Liege Bastogne Liege still, the women’s race starts in Bastogne and before heading to Liege.
La Flèche Wallonne Féminine or the Women’s Flèche Wallonne has been running since 1998. A relatively long history for a modern women’s cycling race. In its 20+ year history, the race has only seen 10 different winners. Anna van der Breggen has won Flèche Wallonne Féminine 7 times, Marianne Vos 5 times, with Fabiana Luperini and Nicole Cooke both 3-time winners.
The women’s Brabantse Pijl sees the Spring Classics move eastwards. The Flandrian part of the calendar is over and we’re only a few days away from seeing more racing in the Ardennes region of Belgium. The race begins at Lennik in Flemish Brabant before heading south, skirting around the bottom of Brussels.
The women’s Amstel Gold Race returned last season. It was heavily altered, turned into a large circuit based around the Cauberg, the Geulhemmerberg and the Bemelerberg. The constant climbing was hoped to be attritional but ultimately we saw a reasonably large sprint after the Cauberg. Despite the attack of Niewiadoma, no-one would work with her and it proved fruitless. Vos took the sprint ahead of Demi Vollering and Annemiek van Vleuten.