How the Race Finished
It was a nail-biting finish in the second stage of the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas, with the 21-year old Matilde Vitillo (BePink) taking the win from the breakaway, seconds ahead of the peloton. Despite the breakaway’s advantage collapsing from seven minutes with 40km to go, to mere seconds as the finish line approached, they clung on. Vitillo launched her sprint early; Nina Buijsman (Human Powered Health) pushed her all the way to the line, but was just edged out by Vitillo.
Behind them, Kopecky won the sprint from the peloton, but lost the leader’s jersey, which will now be worn by 26-year old Jennifer Ducuara (Colombia Tierra de Atletas), in her first WWT stage race.
The Main Action
It took a long time for a break to be established: Mieke Kröger (Human Powered Health) and Lara Vieceli (Ceratizit-WNT) made a stab at it, but were quickly caught. Eventually, a leading group of seven were established: Vieceli again, with Nina Buysman (Human Powered Health), , Jennifer Ducuara (Colombia Tierra de Atletas), Aranza Villalon (Eneicat – RBH Global), Maaike Coljé (Massi Tactic), and Matilde Vitillo and Nora Jencusova (both BePink). They built up a sizable lead: with 40km to go, they had over 7 minutes on the peloton.
Behind them, Natalia Franco (WCC Team), Catalina Soto (Bizkaia – Durango), and Andrea Ramirez (Massi Tactic) were engaged in an ultimately fruitless chase to join them. In the peloton, there were some riders notably in difficulty: Marta Cavalli (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope), a star in the Ardennes classics, abandoned the race after a crash, and Pauliena Rooijakkers (Canyon//SRAM) yo-yoed off the back of the peloton, after being caught out several times in echelons yesterday.
SD Worx worked a little to reduce the gap to the break to only six minutes, but then disappeared; instead, it was Canyon//SRAM who took up the position. As the breakaway hit the final climb, the Alto de Humada, their lead started to slip away. Kasia Niewiadoma set a blistering pace on the front, breaking apart the peloton behind her, and eating into that gap. Elise Chabbey then took over the lead on the descent.
With twenty kilometres left, and four minutes for the breakaway, it seemed as if they stood a chance, but as Liv Racing and DSM came to the front, seeking a sprint finish, their gap continued to melt away. Attacks went from the peloton: Amanda Spratt (BikeExchange), then Grace Brown (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine), but both were dragged back. With the pace rising, splits began to appear in the peloton.
The break continued to work together; for many of them, it was a chance for their first professional win, and for Ducuara, who finished on the same time as Kopecky yesterday, it was a chance to lead the race. With seven kilometres to go, they had just over a minute. The peloton’s chase was fading a little, the cohesion fractured by attacks, but as Trek and DSM came to the front, the break’s lead started to collapse.
In the final kilometre, they had less than twenty seconds, but they pushed on, and the peloton couldn’t quite catch them. The twenty-one year old Matilde Vitillo was the first to launch her sprint, streaking ahead of the group; Nina Buijsman followed her, coming agonisingly close, but was just edged out by the Italian. Lotte Kopecky won the sprint from the peloton, but came over the line six seconds too late.
This is the first professional win for Matilde Vitillo, and BePink’s first ever WWT-level win.
The new leader of the GC is Jennifer Ducuara, from Colombia Tierra de Atletas, in the first World Tour race of her career, with Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) in second place, six seconds down. Lara Vieceli (Ceratizit-WNT) still leads the mountains classification, after being in breaks two days in a row, while Lotte Kopecky continues to lead the points classification, with Matilde Vitillo and Tereza Neumanova (Liv Racing) just behind her.