2024 La Vuelta Femenina – Stage Three Race Report

How the race finished

Marianne Vos (Visma | Lease a Bike) took an emphatic win in Stage 3 of the Vuelta, outsprinting Charlotte Kool (dsm firmenich PostNL) and Olivia Baril (Movistar) after a relentless climbing stage.

Full results are available below.

How it happened

Setting off from Lucena / Llucena, the women’s peloton covered 130km over continuously climbing terrain, to the finish line at almost 1000m above sea level in Teruel. Despite over 2000m of climbing, with no especially steep or sharp climbs featured, it would be interesting to see how things played out – would SD Worx Protime ride to defend Vas’ lead, would a break go all the way, or would the sprinters who missed out yesterday have their chance? 

The lumpy terrain came almost immediately after the start, with gaps opening up in the peloton. Mireia Benito (AG Insurance Soudal) took off, quickly developing a sizable solo advantage. A strong chase group formed including Mischa Bredewold (SD Worx-Protime), Brodie Chapman (Lidl-Trek), Eva van Agt (Visma | Lease a Bike), Amber Kraak (FDJ-SUEZ), Yara Kastelijn (Fenix-Deceuninck) and Thalita de Jong (Lotto-dstny Ladies). Taniel Campbell (Liv AlUla Jayco), Sheyla Guttiérrez (Movistar) and Sophie von Berswordt (Visma | Lease a Bike) tried to bridge as well, but the peloton brought back all the chasers, leaving just Benito ahead. 

By kilometre 52 Benito had extended her lead to three minutes, remaining solo. Behind her the peloton continued to reconfigure itself, with various groups surging clear and then being pulled back again. By the foot of the Alto Fuente de Rubielos, the only categorised climb of the stage, Benito had over four minutes advantage, and strangely, the gap only continued to grow on the climb. Over the top, Swinkels picked by the remaining mountain classification points behind Benito, adding to her tally from Stage One.

 After the major climb, the pace eased again, and a number of riders including fast finisher Charlotte Kool (dsm firmenich PostNL) were able to rejoin the peloton. At around 50 kilometres to go, approaching the intermediate sprint where bonus seconds were available, Marianne Vos’ team Visma | Lease a Bike started pulling in the peloton. 

An unfortunate crash for Kim Cadzow (EF Education Cannondale) and Antonia Niedermeier (Canyon//Sram Racing) saw them having to chase back on. In the meantime, Grace Brown attacked out of the peloton, quickly going clear. The peloton strung out in pursuit, but soon gave up, and Brown extended her lead. From the peloton, as the third rider on the road, race leader Blanka Vas (SD Worx Protime) picked up two bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint. 

Inside 40 kilometres to go Benito’s lead slipped under four minutes again. The peloton entered a section of more exposed roads, and SD Worx Protime came to the front, reeling Brown back in. Visma | Lease a Bike and Lidl-Trek  took up responsibility for the chase. Demi Vollering (SD Worx Protime) rolled up to the front to grab a bottle, then slyly pushed on, establishing a little gap. Lidl Trek, led by Elisa Longo-Borghini, immediately noticed and began to chase. Vollering was brought back, only for her teammate Mischa Bredewold to attack over the top, but she too was closely marked.

The wind picked up again, but Benito battled onwards on the open roads, holding her 3 minute lead with 30 kilometres to go. Visma | Lease a Bike again led the chase on the front, bringing the gap down by a minute within about six kilometres. Another touch of wheels near the back of the peloton saw three riders go down, with Nathalie Grinczer (Roland) having to abandon the race.

The long, straight and flat roads in the final twenty kilometres didn’t help Benito’s cause, and nor did the strong headwind, as Visma | Lease a Bike brought the advantage down under one minute. Team dsm firmenich PostNL began to pilot Charlotte Kool towards the front, eager to stay safe and in the game today. Benito, after a long day out front solo, was caught with 7 km to go. As the road pitched up, an attack came immediately from Volkerwessels, but dsm firmenich PostNL and Visma | Lease a Bike took things under control again.

The peloton wound their way through roundabouts as they manoeuvred towards the finish line, with the riders stringing out. Through three kilometres to go and everyone was safe, but as in stage one just a few metres later a crash held up a large portion of the peloton. The group of riders left to contest the sprint had dwindled to around thirty riders, with Marianne Vos in prime position. 

Movistar led in, with dsm firmenich Post NL coming up the inside and Visma | Lease a Bike also well positioned. FDJ Suez launched early, forcing a reaction. Liane Lippert (Movistar) closed it down, then Marianne Vos launched, quickly powering off the front and taking the win by a couple of bike lengths. Charlotte Kool (dsm firmenich PostNL) found her way through to take second, with Olivia Baril finishing off Movistar’s work to take third place.

 

Full Stage Two Results

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

Photography ©️ Unipublic/Alex Berasategi

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