Great stage two towards Villarreal sees Oyarbide, Mavi García on the attack plus no less than four riders within the top-ten at the finish, led home by Alicia González's first-ever podium finish (3rd).
The women’s Movistar Team is making count their determination, group spirit and good work in the month leading up to their UCI debut in the 2018 Setmana Valenciana. The Blue squad was a big protagonist on stage two of the Spanish race, 115km from Castellón to Villarreal, with at least one from their six-rider squad at the front of the course from start to finish.
Lourdes Oyarbide made part of a twelve-rider breakaway which reached the bottom of the Alto del Desierto de las Palmas (Cat-1), the day’s only rated climb, with almost two minutes of advantage. The strong pace by Cervélo-Bigla and Canyon plus the subsequent attacks saw two more Movistar riders making it to the front: Mavi García and Eider Merino, part of the 17-woman lead after the descent. Mavi even tried to make that group shrink into a six-rider move later on, before two consecutive regroupings saw Lorena Llamas and Alicia González bridging back first -five blues into a 30-strong group- and Alba Teruel later on.
Marta Bastianelli (ALE) won the bunch sprint in front of a group where four from the Movistar Team entered the day’s top-ten: González finished 3rd -first-ever podium for the Blues-; Mavi was 5th; Oyarbide took 6th; and Teruel crossed the line in 9th spot. The 2″ bonus obtained by García at the last intermediate sprint allow the former national champion getting up to 9th overall (+18″), with Hannah Barnes (CSR) still leading and Alicia still in 4th (+13″).
Saturday will see the Setmana Valenciana tackling its longest stage, 137km from Sagunto to Valencia, with the Alto del Oronet (Cat-2) nearly fifty kilometers from the end. It will be another chance to keep watching the Movistar Team shining -twice on today’s podium as best squad of the day and top local rider (Teruel)-, the Blues already showing their great level against some of the world’s best.
Picture (c): Movistar Team