Noemi Rüegg clinched the top spot at the Trofeo Felanitx-Colònia de Sant Jordi, marking a significant milestone as the first triumph for the nascent EF Education-Cannondale team. Rüegg, hailing from Switzerland, showcased her speed and tactical acumen in the final sprint, eclipsing seasoned riders Arlenis Sierra of Movistar and Chiara Consonni of UAE Team ADQ at the finish line in Ses Salines.
The Challenge Mallorca Femenina, a freshly minted addition to the cycling calendar, features three distinct one-day races, unfolding from January 20-22. The series’ inaugural race stretched over 127km, charting a course from Felanitx to Colònia de Sant Jordi. The route presented the peloton with a blend of challenges, including three intermediate sprints and a duo of category 4 climbs, offering an early test of form and fitness for the competing teams.
Rüegg signalled her intentions early in the race, clinching the first intermediate sprint in Ses Salines. The race then witnessed spirited efforts from Rotem Gafinovitz with a solo breakaway and a duel between Alice Palazzi and Laura Asencio for the mountain points.
Mid-race dynamics saw a compelling breakaway with Giorgia Vettorello and Laura Asencio pushing ahead of the main field. Vettorello, in particular, showcased her strength by securing the intermediate sprint points in Felanitx. However, the duo’s effort was reined in by the vigilant peloton, setting the stage for a grand showdown in the race’s closing kilometres.
In the final 10km, strategic attacks from Proximus-Cyclis and Maxx-Solar Rose teams animated the race, yet it was the formidable lead-out by Movistar for Sierra that maintained cohesion in the peloton. Despite these attempts, the stage was set for a thrilling group sprint finish. As Jelena Eric hit the front, her acceleration split the front group and broke up the UAE Team ADQ lead-out train. As the sprinters found their teams unable to control it, Noemi Rüegg timed her sprint well and surged to the forefront in the final metres, overcoming Sierra and Consonni to seize a resounding victory.
Post-race, Rüegg reflected on her achievement, expressing her delight and gratitude towards her new team. She remarked on the seamless transition and the unwavering support she has received from EF Education-Cannondale, which has been instrumental in her early-season success.
2024 Trofeo Felanitx-Colònia de Sant Jordi result
Results powered by FirstCycling.com
Main photo credit: SprintCycling