Tamara Dronova continues to dominate in the Ruta del Sol for women, further solidifying her GC standing. The 29-year-old Russian cyclist, representing Israel-Premier Tech-Roland, triumphed in the opening stage on Wednesday and followed this up by emerging victorious in the challenging second stage today. Dronova was the first to cross the finish line in Cómpeta, thereby solidifying her lead in the overall rankings.
In the Vuelta Andalucia Ruta del Sol’s second stage for women, the spotlight was on the climbers. The finish line was strategically placed on the ascent to Cómpeta, forcing the riders to grapple with a climb stretching gradually over fourteen kilometres at an average of 4%. While not excessively steep, it was sufficiently challenging to distinguish the exceptional riders. Tamara Dronova, who had already won the opening stage on Wednesday, seized this opportunity to strengthen her standing as the leader.
The peloton was dealt a severe blow before the start with the fall of Linda Zanetti, the 21-year-old Swiss rider who held second place in the standings. Suffering serious injuries from her fall, Zanetti was forced to withdraw early. Following a chaotic and incident-ridden neutralisation, the cyclists commenced the 95-kilometre stage. The lead car suddenly stopped, causing a large crash that saw a number of riders unable to complete the stage as a result.
The Puerto de Ítrabo, a third-category climb, was a notable challenge in the early phase. Colombian cyclist Jessenia Meneses was the first to reach it, followed by Lourdes Oyarbide and Elisabeth Stannard, but otherwise, the race progressed without significant events.
The race then rapidly progressed towards the final leg, with the climax being the final ascent to Competa. Several riders endeavoured to gain an advantage before the climb, but most breakaways were promptly thwarted. With about thirty kilometres remaining, the race saw the first substantial escape led by nine riders. This group included Mareille Meijering from the Netherlands, Antri Christoforou, Anastasia Carbonari, Lija Laizane, Catalina Soto Campos, Isabel Martín, Alice Sharpe, Emma Dyrhovden and Georgia Whitehouse.
These nine riders approached the final climb holding a thirty-second lead. Meijering, Christoforou, and Dyrhovden demonstrated superior climbing skills but failed to escape the now significantly reduced main group of cyclists. As anticipation for the dramatic climax built, the pace escalated. The last five kilometres saw attempted breakaways by Idoia Eraso and Irene Méndez, but it eventually culminated in a sprint to the finish line.
Echoing her performance on Wednesday’s opening stage, no one could match the pace of Tamara Dronova. The rider from Israel-Premier Tech-Roland decisively distanced herself from her rivals with an impressive burst of speed and secured the victory with a significant lead. She bested Katrine Aalerud (Movistar) and Mie Bjørndal Ottestad (Norwegian selection), both Norwegian cyclists. This victory further extends Dronova’s lead in the overall standings.
2023 Vuelta a Andalucia Stage 2 results
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