Despite being arguably the flattest road stage of the Vuelta Femenina, stage 3 was anything but a relaxed affair. From the moment the race turned into a tail-crosswind 90 km from the finish, the pace was relentless and the peloton shattered, costing some pre-race favourites a hope of landing a top result.
Movistar, SD Worx, Jumbo-Visma, DSM and Canyon-SRAM worked hard to benefit from the echelon action and improved their GC positions while other teams suffered setbacks in their GC bids. Gaia Realini (Trek-Segafredo) in particular saw her hopes of an overall podium fly away as the lightweight climber lost almost three minutes.
Stage 3 winner Marianne Vos (Team Jumbo-Visma) is still in the red leader’s jersey, but the 35-year-old no longer targets Grand Tour overall classifications and is instead expected to support her teammates Riejanne Markus (third at 14 seconds) and Amber Kraak (22 seconds behind in 5th overall).
Chloé Dygert, Élise Chabbey, Kasia Niewiadoma (all Canyon-SRAM), Liane Lippert, Annemiek van Vleuten (both Movistar Team), Demi Vollering, Marlen Reusser, and Niamh Fisher-Black (all Team SD Worx), Juliette Labous, and Esmée Peperkamp (both Team DSM) all finished in the front echelon and consequently did not lose time on GC.
Dygert is second overall, only 13 seconds behind Vos, and has shown her strength in the TTT, the sprints and the echelons. If she can show the same strength on the climbs, a good GC result is not out of the question, though her team’s main GC hopes are Niewiadoma and Chabbey.
Lippert is in the role of a co-leader alongside Van Vleuten while the allocation of roles at SD Worx and DSM is more hierarchical as Vollering and Labous can command sole leadership.
Silvia Persico (UAE Team ADQ) lost 1:32 minutes in the echelons but had her teammates Olivia Baril, Mikayla Harvey, and Erica Magnaldi in the front echelon, keeping the team’s GC hopes intact as all three are now 1:03 minutes down on Vos. Mavi García (Liv Racing TeqFind) follows one second behind. Persico is 39th overall at 2:35 minutes and may now get carte blanche to go for a stage win, possibly already on stage 4 that features a third-category climb in the final.
Several other teams will also have to target stage victories if they want a victory at this Vuelta Femenina. Trek-Segafredo had high hopes for their young Italian climber Gaia Realini who fared well in the UAE Tour echelons in February but was swept away by the wind on the plains of Castilla-La Mancha,…
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