Stage three of the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas has delivered a first Women’s WorldTour victory for a rider for the second year in a row.
After Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig rode to her first victory at the highest level on the climb up to Ojo Guareña, Spanish national champion Mavi Garcia (UAE Team ADQ) pulled off the same feat on the penultimate stage of the four-day race.
Garcia got the Spanish races off to a flying start, coming second overall at the Vuelta Ciclista Andalucia Ruta Del Sol and third at the GP Ciudad de Eibar before crashing hard at Emakumeen Nafarroako – although still placing fifth – and subsequently testing positive for Covid. As a result, Garcia and the rest of her team missed out on Itzulia Women and Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria, but it doesn’t seem to have slowed the former duathlete down in the slightest.
In contrast to yesterday’s straightforward stage, it took a while for a breakaway to form, with several doomed moves – including one involving sprinters Chloe Hosking and Emma Norsgaard. As the second succession of climbs started, with just under 70km to go, the race split temporarily but still no breakaway formed.
The pace was relentless with the peloton travelling at such speed to render them 10 minutes ahead of the fastest time schedule.
Eventually, with 50km to go, a break of five riders went clear including yesterday’s second-placed rider Nina Buijsman alongside Marta Jaskulska (Liv Racing Xstra), Lucinda Brand (Trek – Segafredo), Sandra Alonso (Ceratizit – WNT) and Eleonora Gasparrini (Valcar – Travel & Service). Just 20km later, however, the group were caught.
Once the peloton hit the bigger climbs in the latter stages it was FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope pushing the pace leaving around 20 riders in front at the top of the Alto Retuerta and dropping race leader Jennifer Ducuara.
As the climbs wore on, an even more elite group of nine formed before being joined by seven chasers. Elise Chabbey of Canyon//SRAM (who lost Pauliena Rooijakkers and Alena Amialusik before the start of the stage), and Liane Lippert attempted to break away but were caught shortly afterwards.
With around 15km to go Garcia and Evita Muzik of FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope attacked and would never be seen again by the peloton despite the best efforts of Lotte Kopecky and SD Worx for whom Demi Vollering completely emptied herself.
In the final few hundred metres, the gap had been reduced to around 15 seconds and Garcia ditched her breakaway companion to go clear and cross the line for a solo victory which also saw the 38-year-old move into the GC lead by 12 seconds ahead of Muzic and 15″ on Kopecky.
Her lead is relatively comfortable but with tomorrow’s stage finish on the 11km climb up to Lagunas de Neila Garcia will have to be wary of the likes of FDJ who will want to make the climb as hard as possible to force time gaps.
Vuelta a Burgos Feminas (2.WWT) Medina de Pomar → Ojo Guareña