The first edition of the revamped La Vuelta Femenina concluded with Annemiek van Vleuten securing the overall title for her home team Movistar.
Seven days of action-packed racing with a mountaintop finish atop the iconic Lagos de Covadonga has given way to a new phase for the event that started eight years ago as a one-day race in Madrid.
It marked the closing of the Spring Classics and the kick-off to the late spring and summer stage racing season, setting the stage to see who is on form for multi-day racing in the high mountains.
Cyclingnews highlights five main conclusions from the 2023 La Vuelta Femenina, ahead of the next two top-tier stage races in Spain at Itzulia Women from May 12-14 and Vuelta a Burgos from May 18-21.
Van Vleuten’s first win of the season
Annemiek van Vleuten patiently worked her way into winning form, after struggling through the Spring Classics without a victory and her form constantly under the microscope, she has secured her first victory of the season as the overall winner at La Vuelta Femenina.
The victory comes later in the season than what is usual for Van Vleuten, who has won races Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Strade Bianche, Tour of Flanders, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège in the past. She was uncertain about why her form seemed to be lacking this spring but also felt that the increased overall depth and strength of the peloton made it more challenging to win than ever before.
Movistar finished fourth in the team time trial in Torrevieja, and Van Vleuten kept herself in contention through the flatter stage 2 into Pilar de la Horadada, stage 3 into La Roda, a hilly stage 4 into Guadalajara as the race hit the bigger climbs.
Second in a sprint against Demi Vollering (SD Worx) on the first summit finish, Mirador de Peñas Llanas on stage 5 made way for a thrilling GC battle. Second again in a sprint against Gaia Realini (Trek-Segafredo) on the hilly stage 6 into Laredo, made way for Van Vleuten to take the leader’s jersey from Vollering, who lost time after stopping for a nature break ahead of a decisive crosswind section.
Although Vollering made most of that time back on the stage 7 finale on Lagos de Covadonga, Van Vleuten had just enough to keep her overall lead by just nine seconds.
She may not have been the strongest climber of the week, but she certainly showed consistency across all seven stages, which bodes well for the summer racing season…
Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at CyclingNews RSS Feed…