Lorena Wiebes of team SD Worx claimed victory in the inaugural stage of the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas, beating Elisa Balsamo and Chloe Dygert in a thrilling final mass sprint. As a result, Wiebes also assumes the position as the initial leader in the overall standings.
The Women’s Tour of Burgos began this year in Quintanaortuño. The first stage, spanning 115.6 kilometres, led the competitors from the starting point to Medina de Pomar. Two challenging climbs were encountered along the route, with the peak of the last hill, Quintanalacuesta (1.7 km at 5.4% gradient), situated twenty kilometres from the finish line.
Despite a somewhat sluggish start, a breakaway group was formed after roughly twenty kilometres. However, the term ‘breakaway’ is slightly misleading in this context, as only one rider – 20-year-old Russian Valeria Valgonen from team Massi-Tactic – broke free from the main group, building a lead of more than one and a half minutes. However, her solitary escape ended 32 kilometres from the finish line when the peloton caught up.
A few kilometres past the regrouping, we noticed Demi Vollering making a bike switch but she managed to rejoin the pack before the climb to Quintanaortuño. While not much happened on this climb, subsequent attempts to break away were seen. Notably, team Movistar was active, with Alicia González seen attacking solo and when she was reeled in, Aude Biannic, accompanied by Jade Wiel, Valerie Demey and Elena Pirrone, launched an offensive eleven kilometres from the finish line.
With three kilometres left to go, this quartet maintained a mere ten-second lead over the peloton. Their effort, however, proved insufficient as they were caught by the leading group with just two kilometres left to the finish line, which inevitably set the stage for a decisive mass sprint. Elisa Balsamo initiated the sprint in this climactic showdown, but European champion Lorena Wiebes outpaced her, clinching a clear victory.
“It’s great to already have a stage win under my belt. I hope to be able to strike again. It was a tough stage. There was a lot of headwind. Things also moved at a rapid pace on the last climb of the day. But my team, SD Worx, had it well under control. I was able to prepare for a sprint. There was chaos in the finale, meaning our lead-out didn’t go as planned. But I was able to secure a good position and from there, ride my own sprint.
Tomorrow we face a challenging uphill finish, where we as a team will once again aim for the stage victory. Besides, we don’t want to lose time with Demi Vollering, because the overall classification will be determined in the fourth stage. This leader’s jersey is great, but I’m more focused on stage victories.”Lorena Wiebes
2023 Vuelta a Burgos Stage 1 result
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