2022 Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta
How the race finished
Silvia Persico (Valcar-Travel & Service) won stage 4 of the Ceratizit Challenge by la Vuelta, outsprinting Demi Vollering and Elisa Longo Borghini after a race-long solo break by Anna Kiesenhofer (Soltec Team) was caught in the final kilometres.
How it happened
Despite being the longest stage of this year’s race, at 160.5km, Olympic gold medalist Anna Kiesenhofer (Soltec Team) attacked out of the peloton from the gun. Riding away solo on the open and exposed roads, she quickly established a significant move. Despite taking a small tumble early in the race, Kiesenhofer carved out a ten minute time gap, propelling herself into the virtual race lead.
The rest of the peloton left the chase up to Movistar for a long time, with the red jersey wearer herself, Annemiek van Vleuten, pulling on the front along with her team to defend her position in the general classification. Memories of the way the then relatively unknown Kiesenhofer won the olympic road race can’t have been far from the minds of many in the peloton, as the danger to the other podium positions became too much to risk. Canyon//Sram Racing, FDJ Suez Futuroscope, Trek Segafredo and BikeExchange Jayco all put riders in front to lead the chase. The gap started to fall quickly.
Hitting the 1200m long gravel sector with 9km to go, Kiesenhofer still held a 1:20 gap. Attacks out of the peloton from Brodie Chapman (FDJ Suez Futuroscope) and Blanka Vas (Team SD Worx) increased the pace behind, and the gap began to tumble. Exiting the gravel sector, the peloton was significantly reduced and sitting at only 40 seconds behind Kiesenhofer.
FDJ Suez Futuroscope and Team SD Worx drove the peloton through the final kilometres, as Kiesenhofer continued to pace herself closer to the finish line. With the final 2.5km heading slightly uphill, the chasing peloton splintered under the pressure of Blanka Vas. Continuing with the increased pace, the group finally reeled in Kiesenhofer at 1km to go, after over 150km solo.
Hitting the cobbled climb at 900m to go, attacks from Liane Lippert, Annemiek van Vleuten and Elisa Longo Borghini set a furious pace, but it was Silvia Persico (Valcar Travel & Service) who was able to come out of the wheels with a huge turn of pace to take her first Women’s World Tour win. Demi Vollering came across the line in second, with Longo Borghini in third. Annemiek van Vleuten retains the red leader’s jersey going into the final stage tomorrow.