Emakumeen Euskal Bira (st. 3)
Spanish allrounder from Movistar Team puts in big effort to join ten-rider escape, led home by Amy Pieters (DLT). Tuesday’s two climbs to Urkiola set to decide GC outcome.
Alicia González’s (Movistar Team) relentless work to support her team-mates at the 2018 Emakumeen Euskal Bira 2018 turned into a chance for herself during stage three, held on Monday over 114km in and around Aretxabaleta, under soaking rain which only stopped in the late evening’s finish.
Following tough work to bring fellow Blues Eider Merino and Lorena Llamas back to the main peloton as the group split into the climbs of Etxaguen (Cat-2) and Untzilla (Cat-3), the Asturias native got herself into a ten-woman breakaway including most GC-involved teams, which made for a gap ballooning towards four minutes with less than 30km to go, after the last rated climb to Arlaban (Cat-2).
Alicia’s huge energy spending to follow the pace of some of the best competitors in the world prevented the Spaniard from showing her top speed against winner Amy Pieters (DLT), still finishing in a very decent 6th place -her seventh international top-ten result in the 2018 season-. The bunch, including Merino, Jasinska and Llamas from the Movistar Team, eventually finished 2’01” behind the break, which allows Annemiek Van Vleuten (MTS) staying in the lead by just three seconds over team-mate Georgia Williams. ‘Jasi’ remains in 17th overall, under a minute behind the GC’s top-ten.
The Bira will come to its end on Tuesday with yet another demanding stage in Iurreta, 120km featuring the climbs of Duna (Cat-2) plus 2x Urkiola (Cat-1 and Cat-3, respectively), shown live on Basque TV station EITB.