In a major shake-up, organisers Unipublic have significantly revamped and newly named the La Vuelta Feminina, which expanded to seven stages with a mountaintop finish at Lagos de Covadonga, and moved to the spring, now set to take place from May 1-7 in Spain.
The event, formerly known as Challenge by La Vuelta, started as a one-day race in Madrid in 2015 and expanded to two stages in 2018, and a third stage was added in 2020. The race was further expanded in 2021 to four stages and then, last year, to five stages.
This year, the peloton races over 700 kilometres with more than 8,500 metres of elevation across seven stages. A mix of sprint and undulating early stages make way for a challenging final stage, with the Lagos de Covadonga, a 16km ascent with an average of 7.4%, and where the overall champion will be crowned.
Cyclingnews highlights the favourites in the hunt for the red leader’s jersey and the overall title at the 2023 La Vuelta Feminina.
The road and time trial Spanish Champion, Mavi García, will be one of the most versatile riders to watch for her home stage race.
She brings an opportunistic quality to the peloton in every race she starts, using her strength in the time trial and power on the climbs to put herself and Liv Racing TeqFind into a position to contest stage victories, particularly on the mid-mountain stages, and the overall classification.
García had a promising start to the season, 9th overall at Setmana Valenciana, followed by 11th at Strade Bianche, 10th at Trofeo Alfredo Binda and 4th at Flèche Wallonne.
Her performances could indicate that her form is on the rise just in time for the busy block of racing this month, which offers three WorldTour stage races in Spain, including Itzulia Women and Vuelta a Burgos.
Annemiek van Vleuten
Movistar may have been disappointed not to secure a victory during the Spring Classics, but Annemiek van Vleuten is undoubtedly a favourite for the mountainous stage races.
The longer and tougher version of the newly-named and revamped La Vuelta Femenina, which includes a final mountaintop finish at Lagos de Covadonga, is exactly the sort of stage that could see her secure the overall title as she did atop La Planche des Belles Filles at the Tour de France Femmes last July.
In her final season of racing before retirement, Van Vleuten is aiming to add a…
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