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Vuelta a Burgos Feminas Race History
Another relatively new race in Spain, the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas will have only its 3rd edition at UCI level in 2022. The race’s history goes back a little further though, raced as a national level Spanish race with some big names on the previous winners list. Anna van der Breggen won the head to head against Annemiek van Vleuten last year. The climb up to Lagunas de Neila on the last stage was the major battleground. That day, Van der Breggen was able to rely on Demi Vollering to keep the legs fresher than her rival. She sprinted late on to take the stage victory. That was all that separated the two big Dutch climbers, with 3 seconds being the winning amount. The only rider not from SD Worx or Movistar in the top-5 was German Clara Koppenburg.
The 2019 edition was a different kettle of fish. The race’s first time as a UCI race, the Lagunas de Neila climb wasn’t used the race was more of a puncheur’s paradise. Soraya Paladin won 2 stages but it was Norway’s Stine Borgli who came out as the winner, ahead of Paladin and Garcia on GC. Previously, at national level, riders like Eider Merino and Mavi Garcia won with Olympic champion Anna Kiesenhofer a runner-up back in 2016.
2022’s Vuelta a Burgos Feminas looks like it will be decided on the Lagunas de Neila once more. The first 2 stages are rolling and there’s a chance of some echelons too if the weather plays its role. Stage 3 has a short uphill finish that the puncheurs will relish. In recent form the likes of Liane Lippert and Pauliena Rooijakkers will be itching for a stage win there. Finally, stage 4 has the summit finish.
Anna van der Breggen
Thursday 19th May – Sunday 22nd May
Live on Eurosport/GCN
Stages 1-4: 13:30-15:00 BST
Vuelta a Burgos Feminas 2022 Contenders
Annemiek van Vleuten is going to miss out as she recovers from her wrist injury. Instead we get the combination of Paula Patino and Sarah Gigante for when the road goes uphill and Emma Norsgaard for the first pair of stages. Patino has been impressive in this Spanish part of the season, given the opportunities, she has made the most of them. No wins but 6 top-10 stage finishes, plus 4th and 9th in final GC too. She should be the GC leader here, especially as Gigante had to leave Itzulia Women early due to illness. So despite the maiden European win at Emakumeen Nafarroako, there are question marks just a few days later.
Sarah Gigante could be back to full strength or it may take a little longer. We haven’t seen Emma Norsgaard race in a month, since she finished 11th at Paris Roubaix Femmes. She had a decent spring classics campaign, winning Le Samyn des Dames but missing out on a Women’s WorldTour podium. In a head to head here against the likes of Lotte Kopecky, Norsgaard should rectify that at Vuelta a Burgos Feminas.
SD Worx is predictably strong here.
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio once again gets the #1 bib ahead of Demi Vollering, despite the triple victory at Itzulia Women. The way Demi Vollering talked about that race made it sound like Moolman-Pasio was the Plan A, it’s just Demi nailed the tactical calls and was too powerful. That may not be the case after her crash at Durango-Durango the other day, where she is reportedly fine but suffered concussion-like symptoms. Moolman-Pasio herself was impressive attacking out of the peloton to join up with the remnants of the break ahead at Durango Durango after her own crash. Despite the question-marks, both riders should be up there in GC at the end of this race. Lotte Kopecky is making her first appearance on the road since Paris Roubaix Femmes. With no Lorena Wiebes here, she will be a major contender on Stage 1 and 2 for a sprint victory.
Pauliena Rooijakkers is going to be tough to bet against after the way she won Durango Durango. It was Canyon SRAM’s first victory for 310 days, a drought they’d come close to ending but never quite managing it. Maybe there are some doubts about how she will fare on the longer climbs but certainly, in this form, we’re likely to see a strong result. Kasia Niewiadoma is here as well as she finds her fitness ahead of the grand tours coming up. Maybe the uphill finish on Stage 3 could be for her but I think the team will be behind Rooijakkers at the moment. They also have a useful sprint option in Sarah Roy. She’s maybe a tier below the likes of Kopecky and Norsgaard but can still get solid top-5 results.
We’ll see the return to the Women’s WorldTour of Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig after missing out on the Ardennes through Covid. She made a strong return to racing at Durango Durango, finishing 3rd after not being able to respond to Rooijakkers’ attack (like everyone else). Often her issue is trying to go with Van Vleuten’s attacks and then finding herself blowing up as a result. That won’t be an issue here. Marta Cavalli is also there for FDJ and will be encouraged by finishing 4th at Itzulia Women. She didn’t look quite in the same form she showed earlier this spring but obviously not exactly bad either. She was solid but I can only recall one attack during the whole race. Grace Brown will be the usual attacking wildcard. She was knocking on the door at both of the Morbihan races, finishing 3rd and 4th. We saw more of what we’ve come to expect, attacking riding with Brown not afraid to put her nose in the wind.
EF Education-TIBCO-SVB looks strong here. Veronica Ewers is in some form after winning the Navarre Elite Classic and finishing 2nd at Durango Durango recently. Maybe there’s a little doubt about her stage racing still and similar to Rooijakkers, it’ll be a case of seeing whether she can translate this form to the longer climbs too. I’d be surprised if she didn’t finish in the top 10 overall. She’ll be ably supported by Krista Doebel-Hickok who was 2nd at the Tour of the Gila and then 7th at Emakumeen Nafarroako. She’s a strong climber and should be able to help Ewers in the tough parts of Stage 4 until late on.
Trek Segafredo don’t really have a major GC option here but will be in the hunt for stage wins on the first 3 stages. Lucinda Brand was seen attacking plenty at Itzulia Women and between her and Shirin van Anrooij, we could see the cyclocross stars make a tilt for the win on Stage 3. If the echelons do happen, Brand in particular will be a useful card to play. Chloe Hosking will be the main sprinter too. She’s been a little bit behind World Champion Elisa Balsamo in the pecking order at some of the races and then manages to have bad luck (like at Nokere Koerse) when she’s the main sprinter. It’d be great to see the Aussie take a win on either Stage 1 or 2.
UAE Team ADQ’s Mavi Garcia will be a home favourite here. Her crash at the end of Emakumeen Nafarroako was compounded by testing positive for Covid the day after. In some ways it’s a surprise she’ll be racing here but presumably, she’s testing negative and will be ok. Garcia was strong at the Vuelta Andalucia, taking a pair of podium places on her way to 2nd in GC. After that, there was another podium at GP de Eibar before the crash and 5th place in Navarre. With no Van Vleuten here, Garcia will be a major contender on the climb to Lagunas de Neila. The only issue is will she be back to 100% so soon?
It’s been a great return to racing for Kristen Faulkner in the last week. Only 1 stage has she finished outside of the top-10 and she’s been on the podium 3 times. She did particularly well not to be distanced on the really steep stuff at the end of Itzulia Women and hung on to claim a GC podium. I think she’ll do alright here but Stage 4 could be where she loses time. Teammate Amanda Spratt had a relatively quiet Itzulia Women despite finishing 7th on the first stage. It feels like it wasn’t a goal for her this year but we know the Aussie loves racing in Spain. She was 14th in last year’s Vuelta Burgo Feminas and will hope to do better this year. The BikeExchange-Jayco trident is completed by Ane Santesteban. She had looked great in the recent Spanish racing, with a pair of 2nd places and was in a good place GC-wise after day 1 at Itzulia Women. She had to pull out of that race though after being taken ill (but not Covid) at the stage of Stage 2. If there are no lingering side effects, Santesteban could do rather well here.
The Team DSM pair of Juliette Labous and Liane Lippert were 5th and 6th at Itzulia Women. A consistent weekend for both of them that played to different strengths. Lippert did better in the stages with uphill finishes or steep climbs going into sprints. Labous did better on the less steep, longer climbs but doesn’t have the same finishing speed as Lippert. When it comes to GC here, Labous will be a major contender on Stage 4 but the uphill finish on Stage 3 really plays to Liane Lippert’s strengths.
Valcar’s pairing of Olivia Baril and Silvia Persico has been some of the revelations of the spring part of the season. Baril has done great in this period of Spanish racing. In some ways, it’s no surprise for the Canadian as she’s based in the Basque Country. Winning GP de Eibar was a breakthrough result and she’s already proved it wasn’t a one-off. For Persico, a series of consistent finishes culminated in 3rd in GC at Festival Elsy Jacobs. The potential for echelons in the first 2 stages will help her get a good result. Against pure sprinters, she’s not in the same league but in a reduced bunch sprint, Persico can be strong. She was 2nd on Stage 1 at Festival Elsy Jacobs, beating Demi Vollering but losing out to Marta Bastianelli. Stage 3 should be ok but the climbing on Stage 4 will probably put paid to any GC ambitions.
Finally, Nadine Gill will be noticeable in her bright yellow Sopela jersey. The German has been delivering on some of her promise this spring with 5th at Vuelta Andalucia and GP de Eibar, 10th at Durango Durango and 14th at Itzulia Women. I can see her sneaking into the top-10 once more on the final day provided she can stay out of trouble on the first couple of days. As a smaller Spanish team, it will be harder for her to close gaps if echelons do form.
Vuelta a Burgos Feminas 2022 Outsiders
I’d been hyping Petra Stiasny as a pure climber for a while and we started to see her come through at the highest level at Itzulia Women. 3 consistent finishes around 20th place saw Stiasny finish 18th in GC. That’s her best UCI race result and all the more impressive coming at the Women’s WorldTour level. She’s still a couple of tiers below the best climbers but in this form, it will be interesting to see what she can do on the major Stage 4 climb.
It’s similar to Barbara Malcotti. She’s a rider I mention quite a bit and she also had a solid Itzulia Women. The best finish of 22nd ensured she finished 23rd on GC. As a light rider, I’m always expecting her to fly up the pure climbs but she’s at a similar point of development as Stiasny at the moment. She should be the highest GC finisher for the Human Powered Health team. I’m also intrigued by what Kaia Schmid can do on the first 2 stages here. With no Wiebes and not the usual depth of sprint talent, there are some serious opportunities for other sprinters here.
Sandra Alonso is a sprinter I like to hype as well. She took some impressive results as a Bizkaia Durango rider last year and she’s done ok so far at Ceratizit WNT. 5th early on at Vuelta CV Feminas looked encouraging but then it was a 2-month wait for her next top-10 result. The 10th at Paris Roubaix was a huge result though and followed up with a pair of top-10s at the Bretagne Ladies Tour too. The Spaniard will hopefully be up there the first couple of days.