Silke Smulders claims first pro victory in Vuelta Ciclista Andalucia Women

The opening stage of the third edition of the Vuelta Ciclista Andalucia Women was claimed by Silke Smulders. The 23-year-old Dutch rider from Liv AlUla Jayco won after a long solo attack, securing her first professional victory.

Today’s stage took the riders from Castellar de la Frontera to Alcalá del Valle over a gruelling 115-kilometre course with more than 2,700 metres of elevation gain. The primary climb, Puerto Hacho de Gaucín, spanned 11.6 kilometres at an average gradient of 5.1%.

After a short flat section, the peloton faced the tough ascent of Puerto Hacho de Gaucín. Alex Manly of Liv AlUla Jayco took maximum points here, securing the mountain jersey for the second stage.

Smulders’ decisive attack

With the terrain inviting attacks, Silke Smulders made her move with 30 kilometres to go, establishing a lead of half a minute over the peloton. As her teammate Mavi García attempted to bridge across, Smulders had already extended her advantage to one minute and 45 seconds.

García managed to close the gap to 30 seconds with 10 kilometres remaining, and the Liv AlUla Jayco duo led the race into the final kilometres. Smulders crossed the finish line first, followed by García, marking her maiden victory.

Mavi Garcia leads the bunch

Liv AlUla Jayco dominated the stage, with Ella Wyllie completing the podium in third place. The team controlled the race from the start, setting a strong pace over the climbs and maintaining high speeds over the hilly terrain.

“We were on fire today! From the beginning, Quinty set the pace on the climbs, and Alex did amazing on the downhills. We were so strong. I went far from the finish to take the pressure off of Mavi and Ella. In the end, Mavi bridged over to me, and we went together. I’m just so proud of what we did, taking first, second, and third, and the mountain jersey. It was a really special day for me and the whole team,” Smulders said.

The race was a celebration for Liv AlUla Jayco, with Mavi García playing a crucial role in Smulders’ victory. The team leads the general classification by a significant margin, with García now a top contender for the overall win. The combative prize went to Spain’s Mireya Benito, and Smulders also took the leader’s jersey for the intermediate sprints.

The second stage will see the riders tackle a 146.4-kilometre route from Arjona to Otura, featuring another challenging climb. Liv AlUla Jayco remains the team to beat in this year’s race.

2024 Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta del Sol Women result

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