Dutch time trial champion Annemiek van Vlueten powered to fourth place in the short TT on stage two of the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta.
The 38-year-old was lining up for her first race against the clock since breaking her wrist at the Giro Rosa back in September and lapped the course in a time of 12:48.
Janneke Ensing was first down the start ramp for Mitchelton-SCOTT and the Dutch rider set the fast time of the early runners as she crossed the line in Boadilla del Monte. British youngster Jess Roberts was the next rider to finish for the squad and the 21-year-old moved into provisional third.
Jess Allen shortly followed in a time of 14:20 before former New Zealand time trial champion Georgia Williams finished her effort in 13:13 to put her into provisional fourth.
The rain then began to fall, making for tricky conditions on the 9.3km course as van Vleuten rolled down the start ramp. The former double TT world champion powered around the course in a time of 12:48 to put her in provisional second place at the end of her effort.
Australian Sarah Roy was the last rider to set off for the squad and the 33-year-old lapped the course in a time of 12:58, good enough for provisional fifth at the line and sixth at the end of the day.
Annemiek van Vleuten:
“I think first riders were in dry conditions, but all the girls that finished yesterday in front and in the first 20 places had the rain so was very equal circumstances.”
“It was OK with my wrist for now but I have not been able to get a little bit back to my level of before crashing, unfortunately, and I had six weeks of no training with sprints so lost a bit of explosiveness which was needed on this short TT with a lot of roundabouts. The wrist still is painful so I think is nice it will get some proper rest to let it heal completely.
“I was hoping for a surprise so went all out and this was what was in it for now. I didn’t leave some seconds on the road. I went all out.”
Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta – Stage 2 Results:
1. Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling) 12:40
2. Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) +0:01
3. Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo) +0:04
4. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:08
Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta – GC after Stage 2:
1. Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling) 2:12:51
2. Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) +0:10
3. Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo) +0:13
4. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:17
Photos Courtesy of Baixauli Studio.