First elite road race title for the Basque powerhouse
Alava native from Movistar Team crowns a dream 2019 season, adding to her ITT silver a brilliand gold at the road race in Lorca, with a long-range attack started over 60km before the finish.
An example of sacrifice for her team-mates, all-around talent and fine strategical brain, Lourdes Oyarbide (Movistar Team) took on Saturday the most remarkable victory of her professional career at the 2019 Spanish Road Race Championship, over 108km under extenuating warm conditions from Archena to Lorca.
The rider from Egino, Álava, jumped away from the bunch with over 60km to go, seeking for an early break of five riders which included Alba Teruel, which she brought back into the plans heading to Totana (-50km). As the group’s advantage rose to more than five minutes at the foot of the La Santa climb, Oyarbide left behind Lucía González (BDU), Iurani Blanco (SWT) and, most importantlt, the strong duo with Irene Méndez (MER, silver) and Mireia Benito (MTC, bronze), who started the decisive Castillo ascent 35” behind Oyarbide.
Despite the enormous effort, cramps and dehydration, Lourdes was still able to celebrate at the finish and claim the second victory of her 2019 season -following another long gallop to success at the Vuelta a Burgos- and the seventh for the Movistar Team this year. Behind, Eider Merino (4th) and Sheyla Gutiérrez (6th) battled strong into the pursuit group to come close to a podium they finished just one step behind.
Lourdes Oyarbide: “It was a surprise because I didn’t really feel that well, yet at the National Championships you often find strange race scenarios. Our plan was sending the most girls to the front early in the race. We were able to get Alba into the first escape, then I jumped from the bunch to bridge across, and our plan afterwards was having Gloria, Eider, Alicia or Lorena, as well as Sheyla, trying to make that effort to approach to the front, attack and get back to us.
“In the end, the gap between the lead group and the top guns was so big and the fight was within ourselves. Thinking that the finish was so far away, I waited for the last 2km of the La Santa climb to make my move. I wasn’t able to open that big gap, I just struggled so much, was unable to eat well, my muscles hurt so much – yet I was able, after such an immense effort, to get over the Castillo and celebrate the victory.
— Movistar Team (@Movistar_Team) June 29, 2019
“It’s a massive day of happiness for me. I’m not one who gets into such situations, and I’ve been able to get into numerous winning breaks this year, which makes it so special. I’m so happy for my team-mates, too – they did such a phenomenal work. Last but not least, I want to thank those who made possible for the race to be shown live on TV. It’s the way to show our efforts, the way to go. All in all, a day of joy.”
Pictures (c): Photo Gomez Sport