Mavi García has been crowned the first Queen of the Alhambra, securing a resounding victory in Granada against a field of top international riders. This historic event marked Spain’s first women’s cycling criterium, Reinas de la Alhambra, turning attention onto Grenada in a quiet part of the season.
The day commenced with a scratch race involving 40 cyclists, where endurance was key. South African Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio from AG Insurance Soudal and Spain’s Sara Martín from Movistar battled it out, with Moolman-Pasio ultimately taking the win, followed by Sandra Alonso in third place.
In the subsequent elimination race, Italian Letizia Paternoster, a multiple world and European track cycling medalist, narrowly defeated Mavi García in a thrilling sprint finish.
The grand finale was a showdown of the top 10 riders from the earlier races. García, a five-time Spanish champion, launched an unassailable attack, outperforming Paternoster and Moolman-Pasio to claim the crown. García expressed her enjoyment of the criterium format, saying, “Although it’s a criterium, we all want to win.” Paternoster also praised the event for bringing together top-class cyclists and inspiring young girls watching.
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, completing the podium, highlighted the day as “spectacular and incredible” for the opportunity to race in new locations and amidst the supportive crowd in one of Granada’s main thoroughfares. The Queens of the Alhambra criterium stands as a significant development in Spanish women’s cycling, showcasing the sport’s growing appeal and the emergence of new events dedicated to women’s races.
Mavi García’s triumph in the Reinas de la Alhambra criterium was secured when she broke away from the peloton in the final race’s third lap. Neither Paternoster nor Moolman-Pasio could catch the Spanish rider, who led the podium in an event organised by Relevo.
Photo credits: Álvaro García