Second day in Navarra
La riojana, a la ofensiva y con muy buenas piernas en los ‘muros’ navarros, logra su primer ‘top-ten’ de la nueva temporada tras el apoyo de Merino, Erić y las Movistar Team.
/ Today’s route
A beautiful classic in the second day of post-pandemic cycling. 123km with six rated climbs; narrow, technical sections; and steep slopes, like the ones at the picturesque cobblestones of the Artajona citadel or the climb of El Perdón, one of the most known ascents in Navarra. From its finish, only 19 kilometers were left to the finish in the Ejército avenue, just next to the start in the Taconera gardens.
/ Weather report
Temperatures were similar to the eve’s, with a maximum of 27ºC and the winds playing an even bigger factor, as strong northerly gusts affected the race near the end. The riders were just fortunate to stay away from a heat wave expected over the Iberian Peninsula for this weekend and beyond.
/ Keys to the race
- The first hour of racing, covered at nearly 40kph average, and a fast pace into the opening ascents made it more suitable for attacks, where Lourdes Oyarbide featured and Sheyla Gutiérrez showed great legs. The Rioja native attacked at the Biurrun climb, 65km from the end, and rode briefly at the front together with García (ALE) and Santesteban (WNT), though a route detour got them back to the peloton.
- Annemiek van Vleuten (MTS) chased down at the ‘muro’ of Tirapu (-55 km) the solo leader Elisa Longo Borghini (TFS), who had attacked shortly prior, and opened the way ahead of a quintet with Gutiérrez. At a second pursuit group, always between the top 20, featured Eider Merino and Jelena Erić.
- The two ladies at the front – with a brief misfortune for Longo Borghini – opened a big gap in Artajona over a bigger pursuit (25 riders), with Merino working with several other teams to limit their losses (1’40” with 25km to go) and keep the group in one piece. At El Perdón, Van Vleuten launched an irresistible attack, while the Blues crested with a three-minute deficit on the Dutchwoman.
- Sheyla Gutiérrez, the race’s top Spaniard at the finish, notched up a fine 6th spot, behind Van Vleuten; Longo Borghini; and the top sprinters of the day: Confalonieri (WNT), Balsamo (VAL) and Majerus (DLT). It’s the Movistar Team’s seventh top-ten result in six races since February.
/ What’s next
The Movistar Team will head towards the Basque Country tomorrow to compete on Sunday’s third, final UCI summer race of the season in northern Spain: the Durango Emakumeen Saria (Sunday 26th), with two well-known circuit around the climbs of Miota (5x) y Goiuria -two ascents, with the Garai / San Juan climb in between-. As in Friday’s race, there will be one debut: Paula Patiño, already used to the Spanish time zone after returning to Europe on Monday with the ‘Colombian Sports Flight’, will be at the start.
— Durango – Durango Emakumeen Saria Lineup (26.7.2020): Paula Patiño, Jelena Erić, Eider Merino, Alicia González, Alba Teruel, Lourdes Oyarbide.
Cover picture (c): Velofocus