2024 La Vuelta Femenina – Stage Eight Race Report

How the race finished

Demi Vollering (SD Worx Protime) sealed her overall victory at La Vuelta Feminina with a dominant win in the final stage. Evita Muzic (FDJ Suez) outsprinted Reijanne Markus for second on the line, but Markus did enough to jump into second on the General Classification, ahead of Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl Trek). 

Full results are available below.

How it happened

The final stage of La Vuelta Femenina 2024 was also the shortest road stage of the race, at just 89.4 kilometres. Despite that, the riders would climb over 2000 metres, including two category 1 climbs, up to a final mountain top finish in Valdesquí. Comunidad de Madrid.

The fight for the breakaway was on from the start. A large group tried to go clear, with many of the big-name teams represented, but were brought back. Tamara Dronova (Roland) and Ariana Gilabert (Eneicat-CM) were the next to try, but the duo were reeled back in by the aggressive pace behind. Then another large group clipped off, again featuring representatives from most of the major teams as well as Sarah Gigante (AG Insurance Soudal) who lost her GC position after falling behind in crosswinds yesterday. 

As the group pulled away, a small group set off to chase, but were brought back. The 13-strong group of rider, now having a relatively secure lead of just over one minute, included Jelena Eric (Movistar Team), Elena Cecchini (SD Worx-Protime), Brodie Chapman (Lidl-Trek), Karlijn Swinkels (UAE Team ADQ), Abi Smith (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL), Marianne Vos (Visma | Lease a Bike), Alessia Vigilia (FDJ-SUEZ), Flora Perkins (Fenix-Deceuninck), Silke Smulders (Liv-AlUla-Jayco), Sarah Gigante and Mireia Benito (AG Insurance-Soudal), Lily Williams (Human Powered Health) and Magdeleine Vallieres (EF Education-Cannondale).

By kilometre 38, before the road started to climb, the group had a gap of around 1 minute 45 seconds, but by halfway through the stage, some 7 kilometres later, the gap had come back down to one minute. The peloton was already riding hard, led by EF Education Cannondale,  Liv AlUla Jayco and UAE Team ADQ. The breakaway turned up the pace on the climb too, with Mireia Benito (AG Insurance Soudal) leading the way for Sarah Gigante, and riders starting to be dropped. 

As the peloton settled in to the long first climb, dsm-firmenich PostNL came to the front, setting the pace for Juliette Labous, who is currently sitting 4th on the General Classification. Up front, Sarah Gigante (AG Insurance Soudal) took off, with only Brodie Chapman (Lidl Trek) and Karlijn Swinkels (UAE Team ADQ) able to go with her. In the peloton, Maud Oudeman (Visma | Lease a Bike) put in a huge turn to deter attacks on her leader Reijanne Markus’ third place, putting the three remaining breakaway riders back to within 15 seconds. 

As Chapman came through to the front, Swinkels could no longer hold the pace out front. Marlen Reusser came through to pilot what remained of the peloton for SD Worx Protime, with leader Demi Vollering tucked safely on her wheel. The pace wasn’t high enough to deter attacks though – and Pauliena Rooijakkers (Fenix Deceunick) jumped away, quickly bridging to the leading duo and going across the top. 

With Rooijakkers up the road, Chapman and Gigante tucked back into the peloton, which was now being led by Grace Brown (FDJ Suez). Brown’s pace brought back Rooijakkers, and with 1 kilometre until the crest, Swinkels began to line up more points in the mountains classification, but found herself struggling to hold on. Evita Muzic (FDJ Suez) and Yara Kastelijn (Fenix Deceuninck) pushed the power at the front, two of the riders with the most to gain and least to lose from making it an aggressive race. Muzic attacked over the top, but the pace eased as the group started the descent. 

On the winding descent Niamh Fisher Black lost her back wheel, but was able to just hold it up as she hit the barrier, before she remounted and looked to chase back on. Ricarda Bauernfeind (Canyon//Sram Racing) took to the front on the descent, momentarily gapping the group before things came back together as things flattened out. A small group who had been dropped on the climb came back, passing Fisher Black and rejoining the leaders. As Grace Brown (FDJ Suez) stopped riding on the front, Fisher Black finally rejoined, and Swinkels attacked. 

At the base of the final climb, where the definitive differences would be made, Swinkels had a one minute lead, but that was quickly eaten up as Grace Brown once again began pacing on the front. Brown’s pace saw some of the major players in trouble – putting Vollering’s teammates Niamh Fisher Black and Marlen Reusser (SD Worx Protime) out the back, and also putting Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl Trek) in trouble, though she was able to refind her position. 

With 6.5km to go, as the riders turned into a slight tailwind section, Vollering couldn’t wait any longer and attacked. Grace Brown immediately pulled off, and the group struggled to match the pace, with Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl Trek) going out the back. Vollering continued to push the pace, with Muzic trying to hold the wheel and Kastelijn behind her. Bauernfeind and Markus clawed their way back behind, and when Muzic could no longer hold Vollering’s wheel a group of four chasers formed.

Cadzow, Labous and Rooijakkers rode their way back, making a group of seven behind Vollering, who already had thirty seconds on them, with 4.5 kilometres to go. Markus continued to pace the chasers, seeing a glimmer of hope that she may be able to move herself up into second place, ahead of Longo Borghini, who desperately tried to time trial her way back on behind.

As the road flattened out slightly, Markus and Muzic began to pull away from Kastelijn and Bauernfeind. Longo Borghini continued to hold the gap at around 15 seconds, just enough to hold her second place, while towing Labous, Kastelijn and Bauernfeind on her wheel. 

With a huge gap behind her, Vollering enjoyed her run into the finish line – offering her hand to the crowd and raising her bike over her head under the finishing banner. Through the finishing bend Evita Muzic sprinted clear of Markus for second, but Markus had done enough to put Elisa Longo Borghini into third overall on the General Classification. 

 

Full Stage Eight Results and Final General Classification

 

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

Photography ©️ Unipublic/SprintCyclingAgency

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