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Race Results

Vuelta Femenina stage 7: Demi Vollering wins on Lagos de Covadonga, Annemiek van Vleuten takes overall win

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Demi Vollering (SD Worx) won the final stage of the Vuelta Femenina, but she couldn’t take the time back she needed for the overall classification with Annemiek van Vleuten holding onto the win by seconds.

Vollering started the day over a minute behind Van Vleuten after losing time in a contentious split on Saturday’s stage.

She went clear with Gaia Realini (Trek-Segafredo) with just under six kilometers to go, after already dropping all, but the Italian and Van Vleuten on the brutal climb. The gap to Van Vleuten trickled out as the kilometers ticked down and Vollering pushed every meter of road she had.

After dropping Realini on the short descent before the final meters to the line, Vollering stormed to the stage win. However, she had to wait an agonizing 56 seconds for Van Vleuten to cross the line to discover that she hadn’t won the overall title.

Van Vleuten had done enough to keep the red jersey by nine seconds and take her first win of the season. Realini’s performance was enough to see her climb onto the final podium and take the mountains classification.

“It was unbelievable, I just kept on fighting until the end. I didn’t have the best legs and I was feeling it a bit on the climb. I didn’t have my best day, maybe also because of the effort of yesterday but I never ever give up and so I just kept on pushing and, for sure, they would also get tired. In the end, it was close but it was an amazing team job,” Van Vleuten said after the stage.

Vollering was left wondering what might have been but she still left the race with plenty to be happy about.

“Two stage wins is very nice and it was close for the GC. If it was a bit different yesterday then I think we would have won the GC also. It’s sad that I was not able to battle with the best yesterday, I think today we showed what we are worth and I’m really happy with our fight from today,” Vollering said.

After a dramatic penultimate stage, the last day of the Vuelta Femenina was perfectly poised for a dramatic showdown.

An early three-rider break was swiftly eliminated as the peloton hit the second-category Collada Moandi midway through the 93.7km stage. With a lot to do to retake the red jersey, SD Worx set a blistering pace up the climb, quickly shedding riders out of the bunch and leaving a 15-rider front group.

Over the top, Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) decided to have a go of it down the descent. She was soon joined by SD Worx rider Marlen Reusser, who had initially been dropped. As the main group sat up and others regained contact, the leading duo quickly built a lead of over a minute.

Having been reduced to around 15 riders, the main group swelled again to more than 40 on the valley floor with Movistar taking over the pace-setting. With Reusser, in particular, still posing a threat in the GC, the Movistar efforts kept the gap at a minimum and it had dropped to 30 seconds with 18km to go.

As the foot of the Lagos de Covadonga climb loomed into sight, Reusser and Niewiadoma were reeled in. After Movistar used the last of its riders to set an early pace on the lower slopes, SD Worx took over with Niamh Fisher-Black taking the front.

Riders were soon getting dropped and Niewiadoma was distanced with just over 10km to go and Mavi Garcia (Liv Racing TeqFind) was not far behind her. Just 12 riders remained up front with 10km remaining as Vollering made a tentative dig off the front, testing the waters with those around her.

Vollering continued to set the pace, popping riders with almost every pedal stroke. Another acceleration with nine kilometers to go put Van Vleuten in trouble and she had to chase hard to keep in touch. Stage 6 winner Gaia Realini (Trek-Segafredo) and Evita Mizuc (FDJ-Suez) were the only two able to immediately follow the SD Worx rider.

After dangling near the back for a while, Muzic finally lost tough with seven kilometers to go as Vollering put in another acceleration. Realini was almost dispatched soon when she suffered a mechanical issue, but she was quickly on her way again and back with Vollering and Van Vleuten.

Van Vleuten was in trouble again with just under six kilometers to go as Realini put in a big effort on the front, but she ground her way back. However, she couldn’t do it again as Realini attacked again a few meters later.

The gap to Van Vleuten kept growing out, bit by bit, and the Dutchwoman was 40 seconds back with two kilometers to go. The red jersey was truly in the balance.

The road dipped down again going into the final kilometer and, sensing a chance for victory, Vollering went all out and dropped Realini. There was still another ascent to come but the Italian couldn’t catch Vollering before the line and the Dutchwoman took the stage win.

There were tense moments for everybody as the clock ticked on and everyone waited for Van Vleuten to finish.

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Stage 6: Realini pips Van Vleuten in photo finish, Van Vleuten in red

Gaia Realini won stage 6 of the Vuelta Femenina
Gaia Realini won stage 6 of the Vuelta Femenina (Photo: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)

Gaia Realini (Trek-Segafredo) claimed her first WorldTour victory, beating world champion Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) in a photo finish in Laredo.

The duo arrived at the line together having gone clear from an already reduced group in the final 30 kilometers of the stage. Loes Adegeest (FDJ-Suez) won the sprint from the bunch behind to take third.

Though Van Vleuten missed out on the stage win, she took the leader’s red jersey from Demi Vollering (SD Worx).

Vollering was caught out by crosswinds in the opening 30 kilometers of the stage and never got back on and fell out of the lead and tumbled down to 1:11 ahead of the final showdown on Lagos de Covadonga.

Van Vleuten made the most of the opportunity, working to build a gap to the chasing Vollering before attacking out of the leading group on the first of two climbs, taking a select group with her. She attacked again going into the intermediate sprint with Realini bridging over on the second ascent of the day.

The pair rode to the line together with Van Vleuten pacing on the front the whole time. It would come down to a gallop to the line with Realini holding on by the thinnest of margins. There was some post-race confusion, with the stage win briefly being taken from Realini and handed to Van Vleuten before it was given back to the Italian.

“It’s an incredible day for me and the whole team. In the first part, I worked with my team for the climb in the first part and when Annemiek made her effort, I stayed behind her. It’s incredible, I don’t have words for this day,” Realini said before the confusion about the stage win happened.

Stage 6 of the Vuelta Femenina looked relatively innocuous compared to what was to come for the riders, but for the second time this week the wind ripped the peloton apart. As the bunch passed through Laredo just over 30 kilometers into the 106km stage, crosswinds caused splits in the bunch.

After being in the perfect position when the same happened earlier in the week, Vollering found herself at the wrong end of the split and was distanced by the bunch. Despite some stern work from her teammates, the gap kept going out and it had ballooned to over a minute at the foot of the first climb of the day, the second category Alto de Fuente de las Varas.

Van Vleuten, who had finished second to Vollering on the previous stage, took her opportunity to dig the knife further. She attacked on the ascent to thin out the leading group to just a few select climbers and the gap to the Vollering, who no longer had any teammates to help chase, was over 1:40 by the top.

Realini, Erica Magnaldi (UAE Team Emirates), Juliette Labous (Team DSM), and Evita Muzic (FDJ-Suez) were the only riders still with Van Vleuten as the race sped into the valley.

Van Vleuten was keen to make the most of the advantage and she attacked to pick up the time bonuses at the intermediate sprint. The stinging move saw her pull out a significant gap on her companions and she decided to keep going on her way to the foot of the second climb.

She couldn’t shake Realini, however, as the Italian powered her way across the gap to join up with the Dutchwoman. Meanwhile, the gap to Vollering was still at around 1:40 with 25km to go and it was coming down slowly.

With just under 10km to go, the Vollering group finally caught up with Labous, Magnaldi, and Muzic, but Van Vleuten and Realini were still 1:15 up the road. The leading pair helped onto the advantage and contested the win between them.

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Stage 5: Vollering bulldozes Van Vleuten to double up with stage win and lead

Vollering celebrates victory in Friday’s uphill finale. (Photo: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)

Demi Vollering (SD Worx) rode Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) off her wheel to win the uphill finale to take over the Vuelta Femenina in Friday’s fifth stage.

Van Vleuten attacked in vain with about 400m to go on the brutally steep finish, but Vollering patiently countered and relegated the reigning world champion into second place.

“Today was a hard day. I was keen to win this one,” Vollering said. “I wanted to go at my own pace and to drop as many as possible as soon as possible. They tried to come over to me, and I said, this is the time to give it my all.”

WorldTour rookie Ricarda Bauernfeind (Canyon-Sram) confirmed her talent to finish third. With the time bonuses, Vollering takes over the lead, with Van Vleuten now second at 5 seconds back.

Riejanne Markus (Jumbo-Visma) finished seventh and slotted into podium range with third overall to set up a thrilling weekend crescendo for the Spanish race.

The lumpy finale finishing at the Cat. 2 Mirador de Peñas Llanas spit out overnight leader Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) going into the final kilometers, and it was touch-and-go if she would be able to chase back on to defend her red leader’s jersey.

An elite group pulled clear on the last climb, both to hunt the stage win and to chase the lead. American rider Chloé Dygert (Canyon-SRAM) started the stage in second and was poised to slot into the lead if she could hang on.

Realini, who lost time two days ago in the echelons, kept pouring on the gas with 2km to go. Dygert was gapped with 2km to go and slipped from second to 12th. Vos struggled as well further adrift and dropped to 13th.

Vollering was turning the screws to Van Vleuten to carry momentum under the red kite on the second-category summit finish.

The race continues Saturday with the 106.1km sixth stage from Castro Urdiales to Laredo. Two mid-race climbs should split the group in what will set the stage for Sunday’s dramatic finale at Lagos de Covadonga.

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Stage 4: Marianne Vos doubles up with second consecutive sprint win, extends GC lead

Vos celebrates two in a row. (Photo by Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)

Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) stayed cool through a flurry of late attacks to score her second sprint win in two days.

The red jersey-wearing “GOAT” ripped away from Emma Norsgaard (Movistar) and Marlen Reusser (SD Worx) in the Guadalajara kick for a dominant victory, her Jumbo-Visma team’s third of the race.

Vos was gracious as ever after she clocked up her 248th career win.

“It was really hard, really nervous today. After yesterday’s echelons, there was some wind so everyone was nervous something would happen,” she said at the finish.

“Our team took control and did a good job to keep the attacks down and control the groups. From then on we just tried to stay in front and keep control of the group. I want to thank my team for doing that so well.”

Canyon-SRAM, Movistar, and the Conti Laboral Kutxa Fundación Euskadi team had all tried to make the race hard through the tough hilly stage. A dangerous five-rider break ripped clear in the approach to the final climb at around 15km to go, but Vos stayed cool in the bunch before it all came back together over a final section of plateau.

Lianne Lippert (Movistar) and Demi Vollering (SD Worx) darted out of the lead group on the final downhill before Chloé Dygert, Canyon-SRAM and the GC teams brought it all back together for Vos’ winning gallop in the busy city center.

Rising Dutch speedster and winner of stage 2 Charlotte Kool (DSM) was dropped early in the stage and later abandoned. Two uphill finishes in the final two stages Friday and Saturday will decide a GC that remains tightly poised.

Vos heads into the grueling final phase of the race with 25 seconds advantage over Dygert, with Jumbo-Visma teammate Riejanne Markus third at 26 seconds.

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Stage 3: Marianne Vos defends red with sprint win ahead of Kool, Dygert

Vos defended red with sprint victory. Photo: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images

Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) defended her red leader’s jersey in the best possible way by sprinting to victory in the third stage at the Vuelta Femenina.

In a repeat of Tuesday’s finale but in different order, with Vos coming up first ahead of yesterday’s winner Charlotte Kool (Team DSM). Chloé Dygert (Canyon-Sram) also continued her fine return to competition with third for the second day in a row.

“We know yesterday we were not so far off, and we knew there would be another chance today. With the wind, it was quite a hard day to stay in position and be there. I am very thankful to my team, and I happy I could finish it off in the final,” Vos said. “We are going to prepare for the next days.”

With time bonuses, Vos expands her lead to Dygert to 13 seconds.

The bunch split in crosswinds going across the flats, creating a fracture among the GC favorites.

The race continues Thursday with the 133.1km fourth stage from Cuenca to Guadalajara.

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Stage 2: Kool denies Dygert for sprint victory, Marianne Vos into red jersey

Charlotte Kool (Team DSM) and Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) denied Chloé Dygert (Canyon-SRAM) the victory in stage 2 of the Vuelta Femenina.

Dygert launched a dazzling late attack out of the peloton Tuesday in the final 500m of what looked set to be a bunch sprint in Pilar de la Horadada.

However, Vos powered across the dozen-meter gap and bridged to the charging U.S. star with rival racer Kool in the wheel.

Kool came around Vos within sight of the line to score her third victory of the season and reconfirm her status as the hottest new sprint talent in the peloton.

“This is my first big win in a grand tour, so it’s nice to do it in the first real opportunity,” Kool said at the finish.

“It was a hectic final and we knew it would be. I was almost boxed in, but I found the right wheel. It was a really, really long sprint because of Chloé’s move,” Kool continued. “It was a hard one!”

The result sees overnight race leader Anna Henderson pass the red jersey to her teammate Vos ahead of a likely sprinter stage Wednesday.

Dygert is second overall, just one second back in what is her first road race since February 2022.

Dygert’s Canyon-SRAM team tried to split the bunch with a series of attacks through the hilly third quarter of the stage but was unable to do enough to drop any of the main GC contenders.

The first big classification shakeup could come on the hill-packed fourth stage into Guadalajara on Thursday.

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Stage 1: Jumbo-Visma takes opening stage win, Anna Henderson scores red jersey

Jumbo-Visma at the Vuelta Femenina
Jumbo-Visma at the Vuelta Femenina (Photo: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)

Anna Henderson will be the first wearer of the red jersey at the Vuelta Femenina after Jumbo-Visma blitzed the rest of the pack in the opening team time trial around Torrevieja.

Jumbo-Visma was the only team to go below the nine-minute mark over the first half of the 14km course. While the team slowed a little over the second half, the team set the fastest time of 18:03.

Canyon-SRAM kept the Dutch squad close at just one second behind with Trek-Segafredo going third quickest.

“We’re over the moon. It’s our first win on the women’s team this year and to win together is awesome,” Henderson said afterward. “We did a really good course recon and had good plan that we made with our coaches. We just left it all out there and we really believed in each other.”

The fastest time was repeatedly beaten early on with nearly every team crossing the line setting a better time than the one previously. That stopped with Jumbo-Visma’s speedy performance, which knocked the Jayco-AlUla off the top spot by 31 seconds.

Jumbo-Visma was the 16th team off the ramp and it would have to wait for eight more teams to finish before it could consider the win. U.S. squad EF Education-TIBCO-SVB was next across the line and gave away some 48 seconds to the Dutch team after it split up in the final meters of the course.

With Chloe Dygert back in action after last racing for the team in February 2022, Canyon-SRAM posed the biggest threat to Jumbo-Visma’s lead. The team was just three seconds off the quickest time at the intermediate split and closed the gap to the leaders in the second half of the course.

While Canyon-SRAM ended up one-second shy of Jumbo-Visma, the ride puts the team’s leader Kasia Niewiadoma in a strong position in the GC fight.

Behind, Trek-Segafredo could only get within nine seconds of Jumbo-Visma while Movistar was a further three seconds back. Pre-race GC favorite Demi Vollering and her SD Worx team finished 15 seconds off the pace.

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