Preview: Vuelta a Burgos Feminas

Everything you need to know about the four-day stage race.

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After Itzulia Women last week the second Women’s WorldTour stage race comes in quick succession with the third edition of the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas (the race was not held in in 2020) and the second edition of the race at WWT level. The sixth and final race in a block of events in the north of Spain this month, Vuelta a Burgos Feminas rounds off some tough days in the saddle on the hilly terrain.

The first edition of this race, in 2019, was won by the Norwegian, Stine Borgli, now riding for FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope. Last year, the first WorldTour version of the race, the GC came down to the final stage and the climb up to Lagunas de Neila which saw SD Worx’s Anna van der Breggen clinch the overall by three seconds over Annemiek van Vleuten with Demi Vollering in third at 23 seconds.

Only one rider from last year’s podium will be present this year. With Van der Breggen retired and Van Vleuten injured, an on-form Vollering could take over from her teammate’s win in 2021, although she crashed heavily in Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria on Tuesday and abandoned the race.

The stages

The race follows the theme of its predecessors over the past couple of weeks wherein if there are not long, categorised climbs there are still undulating roads that take their cumulative toll on the legs. However, the first two stages of this race, which differ slightly from last year, do provide some respite in comparison to last week’s Itzulia Women. That all goes out of the window at the weekend, however, when the peloton tackle the same final two stages as in 2021 including the 11.9 km climb up to the beauty spot of Lagunas de Neila. The stages are short, with the longest coming in at just 129 km, but the terrain ensures that they will not be easy.

Stage 1 – Pedrosa del Príncipe > Aranda de Duero, 122km | Thursday May 19th

Starting west of Burgos in the small municipality of Pedrosa del Príncipe the peloton will head south through wine country towards the finish in the city of Aranda de Duero. Stage one gets the race off to an undulating start with the short climbs coming almost immediately after the flag drop. Despite the hilly terrain there is just one categorised climb, the third category Coto Gallo which comes after just 25.9 km and, at just 913 m in length, is unlikely to cause many problems.

Stage 2 – Sasamón > Aguilar de Campo, 129km | Friday May 20th

After finishing to the south of the city on stage one, the peloton will head back north to the east of Burgos for stage two. This time, the race heads north towards the Montana Palatina national park with the finish in Aguilar de Campo via yet more undulating terrain. Two categorised climbs await the riders on stage two but are once again little more than 1km in length and unlikely to create too many problems for sprinters and GC riders alike.

Stage 3 – Medina de Pomar > Ojo Guareña 113.4km | Saturday May 21st

After two (potentially) comparatively easy days, stage three is where the race starts to heat up in the GC stakes. Short, sharp climbs come in quick succession in the first 45 km and if raced aggressively could see a war of attrition between the GC hopefuls. A lull in the climbs between kilometre 45 and kilometre 70 may give some riders a chance to catch their breath but from there all the way until the summit finish there is barely any respite from uphill terrain.

Stage 4 – Covarrubias > Lagunas de Neila, 125km | Sunday May 22nd

Whatever gaps there may be in the GC at the end of stage three will likely change quite dramatically by the end of stage four. The centrepiece of the stage may be the final, 11.9km climb up to Lagunas de Neila, which last year saw a close battle between Annemiek van Vleuten and Anna van der Breggen, but there are plenty of other obstacles for the peloton to tackle on their way to it. Whoever is leading the GC will likely want to keep the peloton together until the final climb in order to defend, or extend, their gap but other hopefuls will be looking for opportunities to grab seconds.

The final 11.9km ascent up to Lagunas de Neila averages 6.3% but pitches up dramatically in the final kilometre. Those who are eyeing up the final stage of the Tour de France Femmes on the Super Planche des Belles Filles may want to use this climb to test out this style of finish ahead of July.

Riders to watch

The startlist for the race is divided between those who are fresh and those who have raced the entire Spanish block as well as between climbers and punchier riders as the race features opportunities for both.

SD Worx have both Demi Vollering and Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, but if the pair are feeling the effects of their crash in Tuesday’s race then young Kiwi Niamh Fisher Black is more than capable of taking up the leadership role on the climbs. This race also sees the return of Lotte Kopecky who is in with a chance on the first two stages. (Update: since this article was published Ashleigh Moolman Pasio has pulled out of the race.)

Canyon//SRAM‘s Pauleina Rooijakkers comes into the race straight off the back of a victory at Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria on Tuesday but with Kasia Niewiadoma returning from a break in racing followed by an altitude block will the leadership baton be passed back to the Polish rider?

EF Education First-Tibco‘s Veronica Ewers has had a fantastic run in Spain and will be one to watch having barely been outside of the top-10 throughout all of the racing in Spain so far, the only question may be whether the 27-year-old is running out of steam.

Team DSM are still looking for a win despite animating the racing and being active in chasing down moves with Liane Lippert, Juliette Labous and Floortje Mackaij, they will be hoping for a better result this time.

FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope have yet to match their spring success with Marta Cavalli seeming slightly off from her previous form and perhaps building up for a block before the Tour de France Femmes. After being away from racing due to illness Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig returned at Durango-Durango and duly found herself on the podium, will she reclaim leadership of the team at the race that gave her her first WWT win on stage three last year? Grace Brown also returns to WorldTour racing but will it be a case of too many cooks for the French squad again?

With Annemiek van Vleuten and Sarah Gigante absent from the squad Movistar will be looking to Colombian climber Paula Patiño, who rode to an impressive 9th on GC at Itzulia Women for the overall. Emma Norsgaard also rejoins the team after a post-classics break and will be a favourite for an early stage win.

Trek-Segafredo have Audrey Cordon-Ragot and Chloe Hosking returning to racing at Burgos Feminas. Hosking, alongside Danish former world champion Amalie Dideriksen, can be expected to contest the early stages while Shirin van Anrooij and Cordon-Ragot will likely be the team’s best bet when the terrain heads upwards.

Team BikeExchange have myriad options, not least the talented Spanish climber Ane Santesteban and American Kristen Faulkner who placed third on GC at Itzulia. Amanda Spratt may still be on the comeback from illiac artery endofibrosis surgery but she has already shown that she is on her way back to her best.

Other riders to keep an eye on include Valcar Travel & Service‘s Olivia Baril, and Sopela Women’s Team’s Nadine Gill.

CyclingTips star ratings

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️: Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️:Pauleina Rooijakkers, Kristen Faulkner, Marta Cavalli
⭐️⭐️⭐️: Paula Patiño, Ane Santesteban, Veronica Ewers,
⭐️⭐️:  Lotte Kopecky, Niamh Fisher Black
Juliette Labous, Shirin van Anrooij

How to watch

Those outside of Spain can watch the race on GCN/Eurosport. For those in Spain, the race will be broadcast on Teledeporte and regional TV stations. Further details can be found on the race website.

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