CANYON//SRAM Generation will have its first-ever stage race when Vuelta Ciclista Andalucia Women starts tomorrow, 3 May. The team’s roster for the three-day Ruta del Sol stage race is Ricarda Bauernfeind, Agua Marina Espinola Salinas, Llori Sharpe and Valentine Nzayisenga.
For Llori and Valentine, it will be their first stage race in Europe. “As with pretty much all my races so far, there’s a mixture of emotions heading into Vuelta Andalucia. I’m a bit anxious especially since it’s my first stage race, but of course, excited to get racing and also learn from this new experience,” explains Llori.
The opening stage one from Salobreña to Arenas is the flattest of the tour, with 1480m of elevation over the 105km and finishes with a short cobblestone section. The second and third stages at 119km and 139km both cover more than 1900m of climbing. The categorised climbs of Alto de la Mesa (2nd category), Puerto de la Mar (3rd category), Puerto de la Cruz (2nd category) and Puerto Hacho de Gaucin (1st category) across the second and third stages are set to test those vying for the general classification.
“All the stages are quite well suited to our team because they’re hilly,” says Agua Marina.
“There are a couple of bigger teams that will try to control the race, so we will need to race smartly. The first stage has an uphill finish, so I think it will be quite controlled until the final part of the race. The last day is the longest, so it will be important to take extra attention to our fuelling plan of drinking and eating well during the whole tour to arrive at the final day with good form and still some cards to play.”
For Llori, the new challenge of a stage race is one she is looking forward to.
“I’m not entirely sure what to expect honestly other than some hard racing for the three days and another good showing from the CANYON//SRAM Generation team. In terms of preparation, physically, I’ve put in the training both on and off the bike to get my body ready. As it relates to my mental preparation, I sought advice from others such as my mentor Tiff Cromwell and my teammate Agua Marina who’ve both done their fair share of stage racing and are more knowledgeable about the intricacies of it all,” adds Llori.
HOW TO FOLLOW
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Stage 1 | 105.5km | Salobreña – Arenas | 12:00-15:25CEST
Stage 2 | 118.9km | Málaga – Mijas | 12:00-15:20CEST
Stage 3 | 138.9km | Fuengirola – Castellar de la Frontera | 09:40 – 13:30CEST