Emakumeen Bira (st. 1)
Spanish rouleur from Movistar Team shows strength at Iurreta’s bunch sprint, won by Jolien D’hoore (DLT). Blues stay away from setbacks before Thursday’s dangerous hills.
The 2019 Emakumeen Bira (UCI Women’s WorldTour) started in Iurreta on Wednesday (101km) with a good result for the Movistar Team, all six ladies always near the front of a peloton full of attacks in the late phase of the race -the most significant coming from 2018 winner Amanda Spratt (MTS) and Elisa Longo Borghini (TFS) after the Astoreka (Cat-2) climb-. At the end, the Blues sought and found a good result with one of its biggest names, Sheyla Gutiérrez.
🇪🇸 #Bira: Jolien D'hoore (DLT) gana la 1ª etapa de la @EmakumeenBira en Iurreta. Gran esfuerzo de colocación y potencia de @Sheyarcoiris, que logra la 4ª posición en el sprint masivo 👏 #AzulCieloYMásAllá 💙 pic.twitter.com/39PnJOoLf3
— Movistar Team (@Movistar_Team) May 22, 2019
Well supported by Patiño, Llamas and Jasinska in the approach to the finish, the Rioja native took a fine 4th place at the bunch sprint, behind Jolien D’hoore (DLT), Sofia Bertizzolo (TVC) and Gracie Elvin (MTS), which puts her in 7th overall before Friday and Saturday’s big mountain routes. The Bira will tackle a hilly parcours on Thursday’s 111km stage two, Aduna to Amasa, with plenty of small climbs in a final loop after the initial ascents to Altzo (Cat-3) and Alkiza (Cat-3).
REACTION / Sheyla Gutiérrez:
“I’m so, so happy with how the team worked for me today, taking me right behind D’hoore’s wheel, which we knew would be the biggest threat for today’s finish and a hard woman to beat when she launched her sprint. I even closed my eyes on the final bike throw, trying to give my everything. I knew that just staying on her wheel would be good for a podium, even if I wanted more. All in all, I’m so happy with how I felt on the road today. I’ve gone through a difficult streak in the last few months, the legs not feeling well after so many crashes and incidents which hampered my performance. Showing here I’ve got what it takes to win boosts my morale, even more so riding on home roads with this great team.
“Today’s race? Well, everyone knows how the Vuelta al País Vasco works: tricky routes, surprising race scenarios – there’s was a lot of stress in the bunch today. The most logical finish was a bunch sprint, yet we even saw race contenders going for the win in the finale. It’s one of the toughest, oldest races in the calendar, and we’ve come here to suffer and offer the best image we can for our sponsors. We’re really willing to do well at home. Tomorrow’s stage will be a technical, hilly one; the younger Spaniards will know it well, since we rode through its course some years ago at a Spanish National Series round. There’s been so many successful breaks at recent international events, so anything could happen at the end.”
Cover picture (c): Photo Gomez Sport