Emakumeen Euskal Bira (st. 2)
Polish rider (now 17th, 23″ behind tenth) just over 2′ behind Van Vleuten (MTS) at demanding 26km ITT from Agurain to Vitoria; defends herself well before two decisive mountain stages on Monday and Tuesday.
World time trial champion Annemiek Van Vleuten (MTS) took Sunday’s victory at a novel, long individual time trial in the 2018 Emakumeen Euskal Bira, 26km from Agurain to Vitoria on windy roads, short climbs and long straights. The Dutch allrounder completed her effort in 34′ sharp, beating fellow countrywoman Anna Van der Breggen (DLT) by fourteen seconds.
The Movistar Team, lacking any specialists due to its main reference Lourdes Oyarbide’s injuries on stage one, tackled a demanding test for its climbing group, with Małgorzata Jasińska as main and most expert value. The Polish rider finished 2’22” behind Van Vleuten, coming close to a top-ten GC result -she’s now 17th, 23″ off tenth- following a day of big margins, the first five competitors -down to Danish Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (CBT)- a minute and a half apart. Rachel Neylan (37’22”) and Eider Merino (37’45”), now also best Basque rider overall, also finished within four minutes of the winning time.
The squad directed by Jorge Sanz will be back to more suited terrain on Monday’s Aretxabaleta stage: 114km featuring the climbs of Etxaguen (Cat-2), Untzilla (Cat-3) and Arlaban (Cat-3) halfway through the course. The race will be decided on the Urkiola climbs on Tuesday en route to Iurreta.