2024 La Vuelta Femenina – Stage Five Race Report

How the race finished

Demi Vollering (SD Worx Protime) stamped her authority on the first mountain stage of La Vuelta Feminina, winning solo ahead of Yara Kastelijn (Fenix Deceuninck) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl Trek). Vollering also moves into the overall lead, with three stages to go.

Full results are available below.

How it happened

The first mountain stage of the race got off to an aggressive start in Huesca, with attacks coming as soon as the flag was dropped. Stine Dale (Coop Repsol) was the first to go clear, but was brought back as the attacks continued to fly. Alison Jackson (EF Education Cannondale) and Stina Kagevi (Coop Repsol) were the next to find a small gap, but were also brought back. Antri Christoforou (Roland) went clear as the road pitched up, but was reeled back in shortly after – and with 24 kilometres of attacking racing covered, there was still no break.

As they approached the first long climb of the day Lourdes Oyarbide of  Laboral Kutxa-Fundacion Euskadi clipped off, but with no one joining her, she was left hovering some twenty seconds ahead. In the bunch, a small pile up affected Marianne Vos (Visma | Lease a Bike), Erica Magnaldi (UAE Team ADQ), Kim Cadzow and Alison Jackson (EF Education Cannondale), with everyone able to remount and rejoin the peloton. A number of teams that missed out yesterday seemed keen to have a presence near the front, with Liv AlUla Jayco, Movistar, EF Education Cannondale, Canyon//Sram Racing and AG Insurance Soudal all leading the pack.

As the long, gentle 18km ascent up to the Alto de Monasterior de San Juan de la Pēna began another crash in the bunch had more riders off their bikes, but the favourites for the day remained safe at the front. With 12.8km to the top Amber Kraak (FDJ Suez) attacked, and was tracked attentively by Mavi Garcia (Liv AlUla Jayco). The peloton remained in touch but stretched out behind them as Kraak continued to push on on the front, sweeping up Oyarbide. Kraak’s teammates Grace Brown and Evita Music moved forwards, and when Kraak had finished her effort, Brown took over.

3.4 kilometres from the top, a big attack came from Antonia Niedermeier (Canyon//Sram Racing). Grace Brown (FDJ Suez) went after her, making contact as the peloton looked at one another. Marlen Reusser (SD Worx Protime) launched to go across, and with Karlijn Swinkels (UAE Team ADQ) following to pick up some mountain points across the top, the moves were all neutralised. 

Canyon//Sram Racing weren’t content to sit in the bunch, with Bauernfiend trying again, but her move was once again carefully tracked by Swinkels. Swinkels pushed on, claiming the maximum points on the QOM, and the peloton entered the descent as one group. 

Gaia Realini (Lidl Trek) crashed on the descent, but with the help of Brodie Chapman was able to remount and try to get back into the race. Demi Vollering (SD Worx Protime) looked to stay safe by coming to the front through the winding corners.

Fenix Deceunick were keen to see if they could get away on the fast, flowing descent towards Jaca, upping the pace and causing splits in the peloton. As the roads flattened out again, with all the favourites present at the front there was a lack of cohesion, and the peloton came back together. 

As they regrouped, with 16.5km to go, Mischa Bredewold (SD Worx Protime) attacked, setting off a flurry of moves. Eva van Agt (Visma | Lease a Bike) followed Vollerings’ playbook from a few days ago – picking up a bottle from the side of the road and then pressing on. Her move pulled a small group of around eight riders clear, including Mireille Meiering (Movistar), Karlijn Swinkels (UAE Team ADQ), Niamh Fisher Black (SD Worx Protime), Kasia Neiwiadoma (FDJ Suez), and Amanda Spratt (Lidl Trek). Clara Koppenberg (EF Education Cannondale) bridged across as Swinkels set off solo. 

The breakaway group stalled and was caught by the peloton again, which had swelled again as another group of riders who had been dropped on the descent found their way back on. Once again Grace Brown (FDJ Suez) came to the front to set the pace, before Visma | Lease a Bike took over.The intermediate sprint came on the run into the final climb, with bonus seconds again up for grabs. Swinkels, still solo out front, picked up the major points available, and Marianne Vos (Visma | Lease a Bike) took second from the peloton, picking up enough points to take over the lead in the points classification.

Swinkels was swept up as the climb began, and once again Grace Brown (FDJ Suez) took to the front. Sarah Gigante (AG Insurance Soudal) stepped on the pedals from the bottom, with Mavi Garcia (Liv AlUla Jayco) and Pauliena Rooijakkers (Fenix Deceuninck) tracing her. With 2.1km to go, Demi Vollering (SD Worx Protime) took over on the front, with Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl Trek) and Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//Sram Racing) closely behind. The group thinned, with only around fifteen riders remaining, and as Vollering quietly upped the pace Niewiadoma went backwards. 

Vollering continued to push on, drawing only Longo Borghini and Yara Kastelijn (Fenix Deceuninck) clear with her. Inside 1 km to go the gaps started to open, with Vollering pulling clear. She pushed on solo, pulling out almost thirty seconds advantage to raise her arms in victory for the first time this year, and claim the leader’s jersey at the same time. Kastelijn outsprinted Longo Borghini for second on the stage, but moved into second overall. 

Full Stage Five Results

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

Photography ©️ Unipublic/SprintCyclingAgency

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