A four-day stage race that takes place in the Burgos region, which itself is located within the autonomous region of Castile and León in north-west Spain, the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas was promoted to WWT level in 2021. In the two editions since then, it has featured many prominent riders, with 2021’s race being won by Anna van der Breggen, and Juliette Labous of Team DSM victorious in 2022.
2023 will officially be the eighth edition of the race, which was formerly a national competition. It’s the third Spanish stage race in as many weeks, following hot on the heels of La Vuelta Femenina and the second edition of Itzulia Women, and is likely to play host to a similar collective of teams and riders.
As it has in previous editions, the race features a mix of flat stages and climbing, across four very even stages in terms of distance. With relatively small ascents in the first three days however, it’s almost guaranteed that the general classification will be decided on stage 4’s final climb.
The race takes place from Thursday 18th – Sunday 21st May.
Stage 1 – Thursday 18th May – Quintanaortuño – Medina de Pomar (115km)
Beginning just north of Burgos in Quintanaortuño, the first stage winds its way northwards, downhill at first, before the route flattens out ahead of the only climb of the day which arrives after 52km of racing. Rated category 3, it won’t be enough to break up the bunch, and with only slight undulations troubling the rest of the route, this one will almost certainly conclude in a bunch sprint in the picturesque town of Medina de Pomar.
Stage 2 – Friday 19th May – Sotresgudo – Lerma (119km)
Continuing its progress around the Burgos region, stage 2’s route begins north-west of the city and travels south all day. From Sotresgudo, the race covers similar terrain as stage 1, with mostly flat roads and slight undulations. It adds another category 3 climb however, with two ascents altogether coming at around 33km and around 66km respectively. Whilst it’s a little bumpier than stage 1, there’s still plenty of time for the bunch to regroup following any splits, so the likely outcome is another bunch gallop into Lerma.
Stage 3 – Saturday 20th May – Caleruega – Aranda de Duero (114km)
Remaining in the southern part of the Burgos region, stage 3 begins in Caleruega before travelling south and west, and looping back around to finish in Aranda de Duero after a day of almost completely flat terrain. Of the three stages so far, this is the flattest, and will almost certainly end in another bunch sprint to the line.
Stage 4 – Sunday 21st May – Tordómar – Lagunas de Neila (121km)
The final, and longest, stage of the race will serve as the general classification decider, with the only significant climbing of the four days providing a dramatic finale to the overall battle.
Beginning in Tordómar, the peloton will travel once again through Lerma, where they concluded stage 2 on Friday, before heading further east. After just 23km or so of flat the riders will spend the rest of the day travelling steadily uphill, a false flat heading into the first categorised climb of the day at 34km, before further undulations lead to a steady rise to the second category 3 climb just before 90km. This could provide a launchpad for early attacks, but the descent that follows may allow a regrouping before the final challenge: the especial category Lagunas de Neila.
The ascent measures 16km and averages out at around 4.8% in pitch, but with the difficulty increasing towards the finish, the GC hopefuls will really have to dig deep if they want to challenge.
Riders to Watch
The third Spanish race in as many weeks, the cast that takes to the stage in Burgos is likely to be largely similar to the set of riders that takes part in Itzulia Women this weekend. In the absence of an official start list, this section is based on the best guess of who might be in attendance in Burgos.
The headline acts will once again be Demi Vollering of SD Worx and Annemiek van Vleuten of Movistar, as the two go head-to-head for the third time in a stage race this month, and with Vollering in the form of her life and Van Vleuten beginning to reach her best form once again, it’s anybody’s guess as to how it will play out but it promises fireworks on the final stage.
Beyond the two main favourites, there will be many riders hoping to contend. FDJ-SUEZ produced a strong team performance at La Vuelta, with Evita Muzic and Loes Adegeest both riding well, and Marta Cavalli continuing to build her form. Canyon//SRAM’s Kasia Niewiadoma was once again in contention at La Vuelta, and her teammate Ricarda Bauernfeind produced a breakthrough performance there to give the team options.
It’s unclear who will lead for Trek-Segafredo, but with Shirin van Anrooij down to ride they will have chances from breakaways or reduced bunch sprints should any of these transpire.
Outside of this, Karlijn Swinkels will likely lead for Team Jumbo-Visma, and Eleonora Gasparrini for UAE Team ADQ, and they could do well if they are feeling good.
In terms of stage wins, the top sprinters at the race are likely to be Emma Norsgaard of Movistar, Gladys Verhulst of FDJ-SUEZ, and Sofia Bertizzolo of UAE Team ADQ, though with so many options for sprinters the start list could see some substitutions nearer the time, with fast women being brought in to fight for stage victories.
Outside of the main contenders, who could come away with a surprise stage win, or an impressive final placement on GC? Here are a few names to consider.
Ane Santesteban (Team Jayco-Alula) has acquitted herself well in recent races and will hope to continue in that vein to achieve a good final position on GC. So too, Loes Adegeest and Ricarda Bauernfeind, both of whom showed their mettle at La Vuelta Femenina. Israel-Premier Tech Roland’s Tamara Dronova scored a second place at the Navarra Classic earlier in the week so could be one to watch too, along with LifePlus Wahoo’s Ella Wyllie who came third in the same race, securing a brilliant result for her team.
Riders to watch (GC)
5-stars Demi Vollering
4-stars Annemiek van Vleuten
When – Thursday 18th – Sunday 21st May
Where – Castile and León, Spain
What – 4-day stage race
‘Watch the Femmes’ TV Coverage: Eurosport, GCN
Voxwomen works with brands that really do care about the growth and development of women’s cycling. MAAP is one of those brands. Please take a moment to visit them and see how they are progressing women’s cycling apparel and female cycling communities.