Emakumeen Euskal Bira (st. 1)
Movistar Team gets three riders -‘Jasi’, new QOM leader; Neylan and Merino- into first main group after offensive race from all Blues. Lourdes sustains collarbone and rib fractures after crash during opening stage.
It was a day of good and bad news to open the Movistar Team’s maiden appearance in the Emakumeen Euskal Bira (UCI Women’s WorldTour), the biggest Spanish stagerace for pro women’s riders. At the opening stage in and around Legazpi (108km), Lourdes Oyarbide suffered a crash into the descent of the Alto de Aztiria (Cat-3), where she sustained a big blow to her left-hand shoulder and side which forced the young Basque to abandon.
Checkups at a medical center nearby confirmed a collarbone fracture and a broken rib, always to her left side, combined with many bruises and wounds as a result of the road rash. The Asparrena native, who was bound to take part in an ITT on her home roads on Sunday -26km between Agurain and Vitoria-, suffers an abrupt end to a great early 2018 season, with good teamwork and even a victory at the Spanish Cup’s Valle de Mena round earlier this month.
The five Blues remaining on course took to the front to make up for Lourdes’ absence. Małgorzata Jasińska was the best performer today by the Jorge Sanz-led squad, taking bonus seconds and climbing first through the Aztiria (Cat-3) and Eizaga (Cat-3) QOM banners, as well as getting through the terrible ‘Kirtenberg’ climb with the top ten riders. The Polish allrounder -15th in the stage, 7th overall- was named Most Aggressive competitor of the day and leads the Mountain classification.
‘Jasi’ was part of a reduced first bunch, barely twenty riders, also including Eider Merino (17th) and Rachel Neylan (20th), 17″ behind solo winner and first leader Sabrina Stultiens (WAD). Lorena Llamas, on the attack between two of the early ascents, was close to bridging back to that elite group after the ‘Kirtenberg’.
— TT start times (Sunday 20th): González 16.56, Llamas 17.17, Neylan 17.47, Merino 17.50, Jasińska 18.00.