Marianne Vos doubled up with another win on Stage 4 after a tough stage that started to light the touchpaper for the expected GC battle of this year’s Vuelta Femenina. Vos took the win ahead of Emma Norsgaard and Marlen Reusser after the latter launched a late attack, similar to the one Dygert served up on Stage 2.
A hillier stage than yesterday’s fastest-ever Women’s WorldTour race saw a few attacking early moves before an actual breakaway managed to go clear. They were the Olympic champion Anna Kiesenhofer, Maryna Varenyk, Tota Magalhaes and Patricia Ortega. There was also a chasse patate from Nora Jencusova of Bepink before the peloton reclaimed her. The early running also saw a crash that included Vos, although she got off lightly, and Silvia Zanardi who was much more affected and had to visit the medical car. Another crash also affected Silvia Persico who sustained a little bit of damage on another stage of this year’s Vuelta.
A solid climb in the middle of the stage saw the break lose cohesion. First Varenyk dropped, then Kiesenhofer and finally, Ortega couldn’t keep up with the pace of Brazilian rider Tota Magalhaes. At the other end of the peloton, Charlotte Kool was spotted slipping out of the back of the peloton and would abandon this year’s Vuelta Femenina with 50km of the stage to go.
The break was claimed by the peloton shortly afterwards and then countered by Georgia Williams and Aranza Villalon, then joined by Silke Smulders, Agnieszka Skalniak-Sojka and Sigrid Ytterhaus Haugset with the group looking set to reach the slopes of the QoM point ahead. A huge amount of work was done by Laboral Kutxa to close the gap, the Spanish Continental team trying to set up their own attempt to earn the jersey. Their turns helped catch the lead group.
Movistar took over for the climb itself with a big turn by Floortje Mackaij and it wasn’t until the town of Horche near the summit that some proper kicks took place. Van Vleuten got the ball rolling and had Demi Vollering and Mavi Garcia join her before the trio were reached by the front group again. A counter by Liane Lippert didn’t get much traction on the first attempt but a second one right at the summit earned her a gap going into the descent. Demi Vollering again bridged over and when Lippert realised who was on her wheel, she sat up not wanting to take a rival of her team leader to the line.
From there, it was clear we were going to get a sprint. A late roundabout at about 750 metres to go gave Marlen Reusser a launching point and it was Chloe Dygert who did the work to close down the move. All that did was set up Vos with a perfect lead-out, who was on the American’s wheel. The victory for the Dutch rider was more comfortable than the day before and she had time to ease up and celebrate over the line.
“Obviously it was nervous because of yesterday’s fans and because there was some wind again. I think all teams were ready in case something happened. Including the climbs, all teams wanted to be at the front, including the classification riders. The first leading group got quite a big gap. Our team has taken control, the girls have done a very good job to get back at the escapees.
After that, it was important to stay in front and control the group. I want to thank my team for that. They did very well, they were with me in the final. When those two go, you know it’s serious. But there was a lot of wind, so that probably wasn’t entirely to their advantage. With Amber Kraak and Riejanne Markus I also had two teammates with me, so I had the feeling that we could get them back. But of course you keep an eye on it. Reusser’s attack in the final was also very strong.”Marianne Vos
2023 Vuelta Femenina Stage 4 result
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Main photo credit: Cor Vos