2024 La Vuelta Femenina – Stage Six Race Report

How the race finished

Evita Muzic (FDJ Suez) out-kicked Demi Vollering (SD Worx Protime) on the second mountain top finish in La Vuelta. Yara Kastelijn (Fenix Deceuninck) showed that yesterday’s ride was no fluke, crossing the line in third. 

Full results are available below.

How it happened

The 132.1km stage had an uphill start before settling into a long, mainly flat route on the lead into another mountain top finish, this time at La Laguna Negra in Vinuesa. The bunch rolled out from Tarazona’s Plaza la Seo, and the pace was steady on the opening climb. A small group including polka dot jersey wearer Karlijn Swinkels (UAE Team ADQ) tried to go clear, but weren’t allowed any space. Petra Stiasny (Fenix Deceuninck) tried again, this time drawing out a bigger group who were once again reabsorbed.

With a strong headwind blowing, the breakaway attempts were difficult to sustain. When the road tilted upwards again Lily Williams (Human Powered Health) and Anneke Dijkstra (Volkerwessels) were able to attack and create a gap. As soon as other riders came across to them the breakaway was shut down once more. Next to go was Eva van Agt (Visma | Lease a Bike), whose solo attack was also swept up. Off the back of that move, at kilometre 47, Laura Molenaar (VolkerWessels) and Claudia San Justo (Eneicat-CM) tried their luck, and were allowed some space. They were swiftly joined by Fauve Bastiaenssen (Lotto-dstny Ladies) and Aurela Nerlo (Winspace), and at last, a four woman breakaway had been established. 

Inside 60km to go, Visma | Lease a Bike looked to launch up the road, but the move was neutralised, and SD Worx Protime took up responsibility for riding on the front again. On a small uncategorised climb through Soria the gap to the breakaway came down from three minute to closer to two, but hovered around that margin for the following kilometres.

The bunch picked up its pace on the lead in to the intermediate sprint, led by Visma | Lease a Bike. Knowing their time out front was limited, the break began to launch attacks against one another, in a kind of desperate game of trying to stay clear or simply to be awarded the most combative on the day. The breakaway was swept up just minutes before the intermediate sprint, where Visma | Lease a Bike validated their work, with Marianne Vos taking maximum points. 

The stage was set for another showdown on the climb, with teams setting an intense pace that saw riders being shed from the peloton even before the climb pitched up properly. Grace Brown (FDJ Suez) took it up on the front, setting a searing tempo that saw a number of riders struggling, including Kristen Faulkner (EF Education Cannondale), Mavi Garcia (Liv Jayco AlUla) and Erica Magnali (UAE Team ADQ). 

With just four kilometres to go Brown pulled off and race leader Demi Vollering (SD Worx Protime) found herself on the front, setting the pace that continued to see riders being dropped. After Reusser came through to do a turn for Vollering, the pace came off a little and Pauliena Rooijakkers (Fenix-Deceuninck) attacked, quickly getting a small gap on the rest of the group. 

Vollering reeled it back, and by now there were just ten riders left at the front. As the gradient pitched up above 10% Vollering put in another seated acceleration. Riders began to crack, while Evita Muzic (FDJ-Suez) winched herself across to Vollering. Looking back, Muzic could see the gap opening up to the second ground with Yara Kastelijn (Fenix Deceuninck), Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl Trek) and Reijanne Markus (Visma | Lease a Bike). Muzic steeled herself to hold Vollering’s wheel, as the red jersey wearer continued to set a strong pace.

As the final kick came at 150m to go Muzic saw her opportunity, standing up on the pedals and coming past Vollering. Unable to react, Vollering had to settle for second, with Kastelijn crossing the line fifteen seconds later in third. There were no changes to the top three positions in the GC, but a big reshuffle of the other place in the top ten saw stage winner Evita Muzic jump into sixth overall.

 

Full Stage Six Results

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

Photography ©️ Unipublic/CXCLING

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