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The Vuelta a Burgos overall is still wide open going into the final stage, with the 11.8km climb to Lagunas de Neila poised to decide the overall winner on stage 4.
After three stages, the top-16 riders on general classification are separated by just 15 seconds, with a total of 31 riders all within one minute of each other.
All three stages have been hilly profiles through the Burgos region of northern Spain, but despite their best efforts, none of the GC riders have been able to put any time between one another.
Stage 3 winner Mavi García (UAE Team ADQ) will wear the leader’s jersey on stage 4 and is one of the best climbers in the race, but her hold on the overall lead is far from secure.
The Spaniard said at the finish on Saturday that the aim of her attack on stage 3 was to take time on her GC rivals, but with only 15 seconds of an advantage over the main group of contenders, García’s lead is almost negligible in the face of the Lagunas de Neila climb.
The absence of the likes of Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (SD Worx), Marta Cavalli (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope) and Pauliena Rooijakkers (Canyon-SRAM) has weakened the climbing field slightly, but the likes of Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM), Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope) and Kristen Faulkner (BikeExchange-Jayco) all look poised to battle it out on Sunday’s climb.
Third on Lagunas de Neila in 2021, Itzulia winner Demi Vollering (SD Worx) lost some time on stage 3. She is now 49 seconds down on GC, but with big gaps expected on stage 4, she is certainly not out of contention. Her teammate Niamh Fisher-Black is also climbing well, and may be the team’s choice in the absence of Moolman-Pasio.
— Team SD Worx (@teamsdworx) May 21, 2022
Though stages 1, 2 and 3 have seen a spirited fight for mountains classifications points, led by Lara Vieceli (Ceratizit-WNT), that classification will also be decided on the final climb, with the points available on Lagunas de Neila overshadowing the points given on the other six category 3 climbs of the race.
Vieceli or second-placed Nina Buijsman (Human Powered Health) would have to put in a particularly strong ride against the pure climbers to take home the jersey.
With the stage and overall victory all still to play for with more than 10 riders capable of taking the crown, the Vuelta a Burgos looks set to culminate in a Lagunas de Neila GC showdown on Sunday.