2023 La Vuelta Femenina – Stage One Race Report

How the race finished

A finely drilled Jumbo-Visma squad took the honours in the opening Team Trial of La Vuelta Femenina. Canyon//Sram Racing finished one second back, with Trek-Segafredo rounding out the podium in third, nine seconds down.

Full results are available below.

How it happened

La Vuelta Femenina 2023 got underway with a 14.5km team time trial around Torreveija, on the Mediterranean coast. With 23 teams lining up on the start line, and some mixed contenders in terms of the overall General Classification, the day started with no big favourites, and the opportunity for some surprises. 

Spanish registered contiental teams headlined the day, with Sopela Women’s Team were the first to get underway, followed by Farto-BTC Women’s Cycling Team. Each team had seven riders rolling off the start ramp to get their effort started, but it would be the time of the fourth rider across the line that would define the team’s finishing time. The opening chicanes caused some troubles for a number of teams, and we saw riders drift apart and have to work hard to come back together. 

Among the early starters, we saw a few teams splitting through the final corner and coming to the finishing line in pairs or even individually, indicating both the physical and mental fatigue of the effort. The strongest of the non-WWT teams were Massi Tactic Women’s Team and a strong St Michel-Mavic-Auber 93, who took an early place in the hot-seat, going faster even than the tidy looking lineup from Israel Premier Tech Roland. Liv Racing TeqFind put in a solid ride to keep Mavi Garcia within touching distance of the General Classification hunt. 

As the major teams started to roll down the start ramp, both Team Jayco ALula and Jumbo Visma looked strong, determined and organised. However, an early problem for Georgie Howe left Jayco ALula missing an engine. Jumbo Visma, however, continued in an impressively smooth style, fanning their four riders across the road to finish almost a minute ahead of the closest finisher, at that point. 

EF Education put in a strong ride in the first half, but things fell apart a little in the second half, and they finally came across the line looking a little ragged, in pairs.
Team UAE ADQ put in a solid effort to finish just ahead of Liv Racing TeqFind. DSM and FDJ both put in strong rides, both finishing 25 seconds down on the time set by Jumbo Visma, in a provisional second place.

From there on, the race really heated up. Canyon//Sram Racing showed Chloe Dygert was in fine form in her return to competition, putting in a searing ride right to the line. They missed the opportunity to unseat Jumbo Visma by just one second. Trek-Segafredo, shielding their diminutive GC hope in Gaia Realini, came home strongly as well, giving up just 9 seconds to Jumbo Visma.

The last two teams to leave the start ramp included two of the major GC favourites for the race – SD Worx with Demi Vollering, and Movistar with Annemiek van Vleuten. At the intermediate split it was a surprise to see SD Worx already 11 second behind Jumbo Visma, with Movistar coming through within touching distance of the leaders, at just four seconds behind. With a time to chase and just a few kilometres to pick up the pace, both teams pushed to their limits. Within the closing kilometre Movistar’s Liane Lippert had given her everything, and the team had to recalibrate to bring her to the line, as their fourth rider. For Team SD Worx, their fifth rider, Niamh Fisher-Black, was dropped on the approach to the finish, rolling through five seconds down on her teammates. Despite the clear effort and intensity of pace, neither team was able to unseat the top three on the classification. 

With Anna Henderson leading Jumbo-Visma across the line, she will wear the first leader’s jersey of the race. The time gaps among the GC contenders remain relatively small, but the order is perhaps different than we might have expected. At the latter end, those teams who had a slower time, or riders who were dropped, might look to capitalise on these time gaps to find opportunities to get up the road in the coming days. The scene is set for an exciting week of racing ahead.

 

Full Stage One Results

Results powered by FirstCycling.com
Photograph: Toni Baixauli / Unipublic / Cxcling

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