2024 Itzulia Women – Race Report

How the race finished

Demi Vollering (SD Worx Protime) took the honours at Itzulia Women, winning the third stage solo to claim the victory ahead of teammate Mischa Bredewold, who had won the first two stages. Juliette Labous (dsm firmenich PostNL) had an aggressive race to finish third in the general classification.

Full results are available below.

How it happened

Stage One of the three stage race in the Basque Country got off to an aggressive start, with multiple attempts to create a breakaway continuing through the first half of the race. With the peloton still together at the first classified climb of the race, the first QoM points were taken by Olivia Baril (Movistar) ahead of Pauliena Rooijakkers (Fenix Deceuninck) and Brodie Chapman (Lidl Trek).

On the lead into the first intermediate sprint and the category two climb, Petra Stiasny (Fenix Deceuninck), Stine Dale (Team Coop Repsol) and Carolina Vargas (Eneicat-CM Team) tried to go clear. Stiasny and Dale paired up to build a lead, before Stiasny dropped back to the peloton and Dale was joined by Valentina Cavallar (Arkea-B&B Hotels). After picking up points on the second climb, the duo were almost caught on the approach to the third climb of the day, but Valentina Cavallar held on to take maximum points over the climb, putting herself into the QOM jersey ahead of stage two.

In the closing kilometres attacks came one after another, with Demi Vollering among those riding aggressively, chasing attacks and creating her own moves. A small but dangerous move went clear that included Niamh Fisher Black (SD Worx Protime) and Brodie Chapman (Lidl Trek), but it was brought back under the power of dsm firmenich PostNL.

After a huge lead out from Marlen Reusser and Demi Vollering, Mischa Bredewold came through to take the win – continuing SD Worx Protime’s unbeaten run at Itzulia Women. Arlenis Sierra (Movistar) came in second, with Vollering riding all the way to the line to take third.

Stage Two served up another lumpy day for the riders, and with no major climbs and a  rolling run into the finish, there were plenty of opportunities to go on the attack. Once again, Valentina Cavallar (Arkea) went up the road, consolidating her lead in the mountains jersey.

After the breakaway attempts were nullified, and strong pace setting by Niamh Fisher Black (SD Worx Protime) on the climb to whittle down the contenders, Vollering pushed on over the top, distancing the chasers. Elise Chabbey (Canyon//Sram Racing) descended strongly to come back, and Marlen Reusser (SD Worx Protime) also bridged across. The trio tussled a little, and the chasing group was able to come back to them. As the group swelled, a number of attacks tried to go clear, but the peloton stretched and brought the attackers back each time. 

Juliette Labous (dsm firmenich PostNL) was eventually able to take advantage of a small rise, going solo. Mavi Garcia (Liv AlUla Jayco) bridged across, and race leader Mischa Bredewold (SD Worx Protime) joined them. The trio worked well together, all three having an interest in gaining time in the General Classification. On the slightly uphill finish Bredewold still had the legs to stay with the two top climbers, and was able to come round them with a turn of speed to take her second win of the race. The chasing bunch had been able to reel a lot of time back on the rise to the finish, coming in only 3 seconds behind the leading trio and leaving the game wide open for the final day.

Stage Three, the final stage of the race, started aggressively once more, this time seeing a large breakaway of fourteen riders go up to the road. With the major teams represented, including Blanka Vas (SD Worx Protime), Amanda Spratt (Lidl Trek), Agnieska Skalniak-Sójka (Canyon//Sram Racing), Claire Steels (Movistar) Urska Zigart (Liv AlUla Jayco), their gap extended out to two and a half minutes with 50 kilometres of racing to go.

With lots of classified climbs along the way, Eleonora Ciabocco (dsm firmenich PostNL) set about collecting mountain points, quickly approaching Valentina Cavallar’s lead in that classification. Heading towards the first intermediate sprint Claire Steels (Movistar) attacked from the break, picking up the major bonus before dropping back to the other riders. As the road picked up into the steep slopes of the second category climb, Steels pushed the pace on the front again. Behind, FDJ Suez led the peloton, who began to claw back towards the disintegrating breakaway.

With only Spratt, Steel and Carina Schrempf (Fenix Deceuninck) left out front, Vollering launched out of the bunch with Labous on her wheel. Labous couldn’t hold the pace, and Vollering went solo to the top. Groups of riders were all over the road, but Bredewold was riding a smart race, holding her own at about 50 seconds behind Vollering.

After the descent the chasers were caught by the remainder of the peloton, as Vollering continued to time trial away to the win. Reusser led out Bredewold for the sprint behind, but Bredewold didn’t have the legs this time, with Thalita de Jong (Lotto Dstny Ladies) coming through for second ahead of her.

Vollering claimed the overall victory, with Bredewold hanging on for second overall. Juliette Labous took third overall after her aggressive racing all week. Ella Wyllie took best young rider in the hotly contested category. 

Final Classification

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

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