May is now one of the busiest months in women’s cycling with four top-tier events on the Women’s WorldTour calendar that began with the revamped La Vuelta Femenina and will continue at the Itzulia Women held from May 12-14, Vuelta a Burgos from May 18-21, both in Spain and then RideLondon Classique from May 26-28.
In its second edition, and at only three days, Itzulia Women is the shortest of Spain’s top-tier events and, coming in the shadow of a gripping La Vuelta Femenina won by World Champion Annemiek van Vleuten, could be tough to match.
After last Sunday’s climax at Lagos de Covadonga, the peloton heads east, along Spain’s northern coast to the Basque Country, and there is no race among the region’s steep-sided valleys that could ever be described as easy. For this reason, Itzulia Women promises the sort of terrain that, even without a summit finish, will give way to a battle among the most powerful climbers.
While a repeat of last year’s three-stage clean sweep might be too much for Demi Vollering to ask for, the SD Worx rider will be hoping to avenge her mere nine-second defeat at La Vuelta at the hands of Van Vleuten, while others will be hoping to cash in too.
Cyclingnews highlights the biggest talking points ahead of Itzulia Women.
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Van Vleuten vs Vollering battle continues
La Vuelta Femenina was notable for some fascinating and combative racing in the early stages, while the final three of the seven days were defined by the head-to-head between Demi Vollering (SDWorx) and Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar).
The two women will meet again in the Basque Country this weekend, and their battle is set to be another fascinating one.
Last year, Van Vleuten dominated their duels, indeed Vollering never once won ahead of her Dutch compatriot despite having a successful season. This year, though, roles have been reversed, with Vollering besting Van Vleuten in all but last week’s Vuelta general classification.
Van Vleuten, the reigning World Champion, has not seemed herself this season. Even while claiming the Vuelta winner’s maillot rojo, she seemed to be fighting her bike all the way to the line at the finale Lagos de Covadonga, holding on apparently only by her incredible will to win.
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