Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta 2022: Stage 5 Report

2022 Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta

Stage 5

How the race finished

World Champion Elisa Balsamo (Trek Segafredo) won the final stage of the Ceratizit Challenge by la Vuelta, outsprinting Lotte Kopecky (Team SD Worx) and Marta Bastianelli (UAE Team ADQ) to win in her last day racing in the rainbow jersey. Annemiek van Vleuten won the general classification, sealing her stamp on all three of the major women’s tours this year. 

How it happened

The peloton took on 17 laps of a circuit in central Madrid, with a number of teams keen to put their sprinters into position to win across the finish line. Getting off to a fast start, the tight criterium style turns saw early splits in the bunch. An early breakaway pair of Sandra Alonso (Ceratizit WNT Pro Cycling)and Sara Poidevin (EF Education-Tibco-SVB) were soon joined by Carlijn Achtereekte (Team Jumbo Visma) and Nina Buijsman (Human Powered Health). Once formed, the sprinters’ teams worked steadily to keep the break within a manageable distance, with the gap only going out to around 1:30”.

With ten kilometres to go, as the break was finally reeled in, Sara Martin (Movistar Team Women) and Niamh Fisher-Black (Team SD Worx) jumped over the top to launch a surprise attack. Lucinda Brand (Trek Segafredo) put in an effort to pull things back together for her fast-finishing team mate Elisa Balsamo, in doing so pulling a small front group clear. With the pace going out a little, the group swelled again. Uno-X Pro cycling team coming to the fore as the lead out trains of Team BikeExchange-Jayco and Team DSM also began to set up for the finish. 

Coming into the final lap, an attack by Laura Ascenio (Ceratizit WNT) was covered by Georgia Williams (Bike Exchange) and (Education EF), with it being left to Marlen Reusser (Team SD Worx) to bring things back together. Movistar took over on the front, with Team SD Worx forming a strong lead out for Lotte Kopecky. The lead out trains were surprised by Elisa Longo Borghini, who launched a powerful surprise move in the finishing straight. As Alex Manly (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) drove hard to make the catch, Elisa Balsamo jumped out her position sheltered in the wheels and rode away for the win – coming across the line with a large enough gap to raise her arms in salute to the rainbow jersey.

Finishing in the bunch, Annemiek van Vleuten sealed her victory in the overall classification, with Elisa Longo Borghini in second and Demi Vollering rounding out the podium in third place. 




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