2023 La Vuelta Femenina – Stage Two Race Report

How the race finished

Charlotte Kool sprinted to the win in the second stage of La Vuelta Femenina, with Marianne Vos crossing the line in second. Chloé Dygert, who took a solo flyer in the finishing straight, held on for third across the line. Vos will wear the leader’s jersey going into Stage Three. 

Full results are available below.

How it happened

After the opening Team Time Trial, Stage Two marked the first opportunity for the riders to open up their legs on the road. A relatively short stage, at just 105.8km, the stage was characterised by two halves: the first 50km starting from Orihuela being completely flat, and the later run in to Pilar de la Horadada featuring a gradual climb up to the first Queen of the Mountains point of the race, along with the first sprint, where bonus seconds were up for grabs. 

The peloton started the day a little nervously, with a crash at four kilometres and another a little later on affecting a number of riders. All were able, eventually, to regroup with the peloton. Susana Perez (Cantabria Deporte-Rio Miera) and Usoa Ostolaza (Laboral Kutxa-Fundacion Euskadi) attacked, but were not able to make it stick. A little further down the road four riders were able to clip off the front. Coralie Demay (St Michel), Catalina Soto (Bizkaia-Durango), Iurani Blanco (Laboral) and Andrea Casagranda (Bepink) worked well together to slowly build their gap out to over 1 minute, but as the fatigue set in the group split apart, and the peloton drifted back towards them. 

With the breakaway almost caught, another crash affected the peloton. This time it happened near the front, and so caught out a large number of riders. Among them, potential GC rider Silvia Persico (UAE Team ADQ), who was eventually able to rejoin the peloton alongside a teammate who had also found herself on the ground.

With around 30km of racing remaining, the pace picked up as teams looked towards the intermediate sprint, where bonus seconds could see a shuffle at the top of the general classification. Teams lined it out, with Trek, SD Worx and Jumbo Visma all keen to be part of the action. As they rolled across the white line painted on the ground, it was Femke Markus (SD Worx) who took maximum points ahead of her sister Riejanne Markus (Jumbo Visma), with Chloé Dygert (Canyon//Sram Racing) rolling through in third. With that, Riejanne Markus took the virtual lead on the general classification. Dygert had the legs to keep pushing on as the road rose slightly, but the peloton quickly reabsorbed the move. 

Soon after the sprint, Elena Cecchini (SD Worx) launched into the base of the climb. Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//Sram Racing) saw the opportunity to counter attack, quickly getting a gap with Niamh Fisher Black (SD Worx) in the wheel. The two were brought back, but the effort to do so strung the peloton out considerably. Elise Chabbey (Canyon//Sram Racing) was the next to counter, keeping the pace on as the climb rose and dipped its way upwards, winding in and out of the trees. Niewiadoma went again near the top, but almost as suddenly as it had all kicked off things relaxed. As they approached the summit, Jade Wiel put in a full paced sprint for the line, and was able to hold off Alba Teruel (Laboral Kutxa-Fundacion Euskadi) to claim the lead in the Mountain Classification.

After a gentle descent towards town, the peloton switched on again to race into a critical corner with around five kilometres to the line. Stretched out, they navigated sandy-edged roads on the lead in. Jumbo-Visma were visible early, with DSM tucked into the bunch. SD Worx took on the front through the final three kilometres, with both Vollering and Reusser holding the pace high. Then, once they were through the final corner, Chloé Dygert launched herself out of the peloton, seeming to leave them for dust. For a moment, it seemed impossible that the peloton would catch her again before the line. Then the sprinters launched, with Vos throwing herself across the Dygert’s wheel. As she did so, Charlotte Kool followed closely on the wheels, opening up her sprint to come around Vos just before the line and take the win. Dygert, impressively, held on for third, with the rest of the stampeding peloton unable to catch her.

The bonus seconds for taking the stage win propelled Vos into the red leader’s jersey, but Chloé Dygert and Riejanne Markus sit just one and two seconds behind her respectively, meaning it is all still to play for even before we hit the mountains.

Full Stage Two Results

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

Photography: Rafa Gomez / SprintCyclingAgency 

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