©️ Unipublic/Alex Berasategi

2024 La Vuelta Femenina – Stage Two Race Report

How the race finished

Alison Jackson (EF Education Cannondale) was victorious after a crash-marred finale, with Blanka Vas (SD Worx Protime) taking second to secure the lead in the General Classification. Karlijn Swinkels (UAE Team ADQ) picked up third place. 

Full results are available below.

How it happened

After the opening Team Time Trial, stage two marked the first opportunity for the riders to open up their legs on the road. The 118.3 kilometre course took the peloton across rugged terrain and over the third category climb to L’Oronet before they descended to the finish line on the coast in Moncofa. With ten teams finishing the time trial within 32 seconds of one another, the race for the red jersey was wide open, leading to an exciting day. 

Starting in soft rain in Bunyol, a crash in the opening kilometres saw Lidl Trek’s Elisa Longo Borghini among those to hit the ground, but everyone was back on their feet quickly. The attacks began quickly, with Idoia Eraso (Laboral Kutxa-Fundación Euskadi), Angela Oro (Bepink-Bongioanni) and Marine Allione (Winspace) managing to create a decent gap. A number of riders tried to bridge across, but the peloton were carefully marking those trying to join. 

Eventually, at 26km into the race, the trio of Silvia Zanardi (Human Powered Health), Valerie Demey (Volkerwessels) and Audrey de Keersmaeker (Lotto-dstny) were able to join the trio already in the lead. Behind them, Lourdes Oyabide (Laboral Kutxa-Fundación Euskadi) and Andrea Casagranda (Bepink-Bongioanni) were also in pursuit, hoping to strengthen the positions of their teams already represented at the front, but were reeled back in by the peloton.

With the peloton happy, the breakaway’s lead stretched out to around two and a half minutes, holding steady at that point. Dsm-firmenich PostNL seemed happy to take up the lead in the bunch, looking ahead to a possible sprint finish for their sprint star Charlotte Kool.

As the front of the race reached the foot of the Puerto de l’Oronet (cat 3), Idoia Eraso (Laboral Kutxa-Fundación Euskadi) powered away, trying to go solo. Behind the break, the pace in the peloton increased, with Movistar on the front reeling the break back in. Visma | Lease a Bike then took it up on the front, setting a hard pace with the hope of dropping Charlotte Kool. 

Karlijn Swinkels (UAE Team ADQ) sprinted over the top to take the first of the mountain points on offer. Amanda Spratt (Lidl Trek) guided the reduced peloton down the slippery descent. As the road flattened out again the pressure went out, and the front group swelled again. 

On the run in to the intermediate sprint Anneke Dijkstra (Volkerwessels) attacked, looking to take the opportunity to pick up some points. Dijkstra came through first, but attacks behind saw Blanka Vas (SD Worx Protime) and Grace Brown (FDJ Suez) pick up the four and two bonus seconds respectively, putting Vas into a position to claim the red jersey with another good sprint at the finish line.

UAE Team ADQ and dsm firmenich PostNL appeared to have been caught out, working hard together to bring their leaders back to the front. At the front of the race, having caught Dijkstra, Visma Lease a Bike, Movistar and Liv AlUla Jayco continued to press on, hoping to hold Kool out of the race. The gap between the two groups held steady at around 40 seconds.

As the kilometres ticked down, Vas traced Marianne Vos (Visma | Lease a Bike), keeping tabs on the rider most likely to deny her the opportunity to take red. The chasing group continued pulling closer, coming within twenty seconds of the peloton. A crash mid-bunch, just metres inside the 3km to go line, affected a number of riders, but the race was on. Just moments later, a rider right at the front of the peloton slid out coming through a roundabout, causing huge splits in the bunch around her.

Initially, Jelena Eric (Movistar) found herself solo on the front, before a small group pulled by Fenix Deceuninck tracked her down. As they entered the final kilometre riders continued to come back, but making it to the front with the high pace was another task. With Fenix Deceuninck fading, Kristen Faulkner (EF Education Cannondale) powered to the front and put in a huge lead out for teammate Alison Jackson, who started the sprint and held it to the line. Blanka Vas (SD Worx Protime) came in second, securing the overall lead, with Karlijn Swinkels (UAE Team ADQ) in third.

Full Stage Two Results

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

Photography ©️ Unipublic/Alex Berasategi

More news

Share this post