Liv Racing Xstra wanted to ride offensive during the third stage of the Volta Comunitat Valenciana Fèmines. Silke Smulders made the plan work and was part of a breakaway.
After 20 kilometres a group of 20 riders escaped from the peloton, but the move was closed down quickly. With the Alto de Remolcador (cat. 1) looming ahead the peloton stayed together for a while. After the climb was done and the road leveled Silke Smulders attacked with Marie Le Net, Alexandra Manly and Matilde Vitillo. The four escapees built up a lead of over a minute. Still the Alto del Collao was waiting for the riders and the peloton speeded up to bring the escapees back. Smulders made a strong impression in the front group, but on the early slopes op the final climb the escapees were caught by the peloton.
“The plan was to go for the attack today. I survived the first climb and also the descent went well. We were all well positioned. Katia did an attempt early in the stage and Jeanne also tried, but they got caught quickly. Giorgia said to go after the intermediate sprint to anticipate for the final climb. I sensed a good moment and escaped with three other riders. We worked well together, but the peloton didn`t give us much space. Still it felt good to be in the front group. I showed myself and our team colours”, Smulders told after the stage.
On the final climb Annemiek van Vleuten soloed to the stage win and the race lead. Marta Jaskulska was the first Liv Racing Xstra rider at the finish in a 39th place. Tomorrow the final stage will bring the peloton from Sagunt to Valancia over 118 kilometres.