Setmana Valenciana (st. 1)
Spanish TT champion from Movistar Team spends great energy into six-woman, 30km winning escape, Winder (TFS) taking advantage to grab day’s victory; Mavi ends up leading the bunch, with Sheyla Gutiérrez in a fine 7th.
The Movistar Team rode with ambition and strength at the opening day of the 2019 Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, the longest stage in the Spanish race over 126km from Cullera to Gandía with the climbs to Barxeta (Cat-3) and Barx (Cat-2). It was Spanish TT champion and world-class allrounder Mavi García who led the Blues’ performance, inside a dangerous, six-woman split which served as launchpad for American Ruth Winder (TFS) to claim the day’s honours.
The escape, including Karol-Ann Canuel (DLT), Soraya Paladin (ALE) and Bigla duo Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig + Leah Thomas -both eventually out of the group-, started at the top of Barxeta and reached the Alto de Barx with more than 50″ over a 30-rider peloton which almost caught the entire group with a late surge.
Only Winder, Paladin and Canuel held a slender gap at the finish, with Mavi, 4th, leading the bunch home ahead of Coryn Rivera (SUN), Elena Cecchini (CSR)… and a remarkable Sheyla Gutiérrez, 7th at the finish and third of the sprint in only her second day in Blue. The group also featured a solid Eider Merino and Lourdes Oyarbide.
The squad directed by Jorge Sanz will seek for new chances on Friday as sprinters go for the win on the 100km stage two from Borriol to Vila-real, with no categorized climbs.
Cover picture (c): Photo Gomez Sport / Movistar Team