Olivia Baril, the new Canadian rider for Movistar, claimed her inaugural victory for them in the Women Cycling Pro Costa De Almería, surpassing rivals Ane Santesteban from Laboral Kutxa-Fundación Euskadi and Karolina Perekitko of Winspace. This remarkable achievement comes just months after Baril’s transition from UAE Team ADQ to Movistar, initially on a one-year contract, and her recent commitment to the Spanish team until 2026 during training camp.
The Women Cycling Pro Costa De Almería, in its second iteration, showcased a challenging and reimagined route. The new uphill finale in Mojácar, replacing the previous season’s flatter end, was a test of grit and resilience, where Baril emerged victorious, demonstrating her punchy climbing strengths. Her triumph is a good sign for the 2024 season at Movistar, especially following the retirement of their erstwhile leader, Annemiek van Vleuten.
Baril’s path to victory was paved by her Movistar teammates’ unwavering support and tactical calls, led by British director Tim Harris, a fresh face from the now-defunct EF Education-TIBCO-SVB. The strategic positioning of teammates, particularly the proactive role of the Ruiz sisters, Laura and Lucía, was instrumental in neutralising late attacks and maintaining control. Claire Steels and Mareille Meijering played pivotal roles in the final stages, positioning Baril optimally for her winning attack on the demanding uphill finish.
The race narrative was characterised by early strategic moves, most notably the solo breakaway by Noemie Abgrall of Winspace Charente-Maritime. The peloton, led determinedly by UAE Team ADQ, methodically worked to bridge the gap, setting the stage for an action-packed finale. The tactical interplay within the peloton and the flurry of attacks in the race’s latter stages exemplified the competitive spirit and strategic depth of women’s professional cycling.
In the build-up to her successful attack, Baril diligently prepared by reconnoitring the final climb, gaining invaluable insights into its details. This meticulous preparation, combined with her natural climbing ability, proved decisive in the race’s climactic moments. Looking ahead, Baril’s ambitions are high, with her sights set on major tours and classics. Her goals for the season include supporting Liane Lippert in the Ardennes Classics and targeting significant results in La Vuelta Femenina, Itzulia, and the Tour de France Femmes. With aspirations for the Paris Olympics, Baril’s victory in Almería is more than a race win; it’s a statement of intent for 2024.
The Women Cycling Pro Costa de Almería, one of the earliest fixtures on the European women’s cycling calendar, marked a significant milestone for the province of Almería, being its first UCI 1.1 category event. Organised collaboratively by Total Sport Mediterranean, CD A Toda Marcha, and Comunity Sport, alongside the local municipalities, the race spanned 121 kilometres of picturesque yet challenging terrain, from Campohermoso to Mojácar.
2024 Women Cycling Pro Costa de Almeria result
Results powered by FirstCycling.com
Main photo credit: PhotoGomezSport