Saturday’s stage of La Vuelta Femenina raised controversy as total chief Demi Vollering (Crew SD Worx) misplaced her pink classification jersey to Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar Crew). It started solely 36km into the 106-kilometre stage due to a mixture of a nature break and a crosswind state of affairs.
Van Vleuten and Movistar mentioned that they’d deliberate to place the race within the gutter from the get-go of stage 6. Vollering and SD Worx countered that it was extra of a headwind than a crosswind, including that the race jury enforced a barrage when riders had been dropped from the peloton due to the elevated pace.
“At 70 kilometres from the end, me and another riders on my workforce needed to pee. Femke Markus additionally simply had a puncture. It was simply earlier than a city. Nothing appeared to be occurring. At that second the peloton was using at a sluggish tempo,” Vollering recounted after the stage had completed concerning the decisive second within the race.
It was on this space that Movistar sport director Sebastián Unzué mentioned the workforce’s technique had been to make an acceleration, noting “we had a really clear plan this morning. We knew it was an unprotected space with an enormous bridge and with robust crosswind.” Van Vleuten confirmed this on the end.
“It was a brilliant good second, tremendous good timing additionally, on the bridge, solely it was unlucky for some women that stopped to pee. However we already made the plan, and for them it’s not the very best second in the event that they see we go on the right-hand facet and wind is arising. It’s additionally a part of the race that it is advisable cease in second and never with crosswinds arising,” added Van Vleuten.
With tears in her eyes in the course of the post-race interviews, Vollering mentioned she had hassle believing Van Vleuten’s assertions that they’d deliberate the acceleration properly upfront. “I’d say the identical if I had been her. However it’s all fairly a lot of a coincidence. They did every part they may to trip me out of the pink jersey. That is high sport. I don’t anticipate any items, however if you wish to do it this fashion… a disgrace.”
There’s an unwritten rule in biking that you simply don’t assault a GC rival after a crash or once they go on a nature break, and that is very true for the general chief. Nevertheless, if a workforce deliberate a transfer at a specific level within the race, the understanding is that they need to not need to cancel their plans as a result of a GC chief opts for a nature break on the identical time.
Ultimately. Van Vleuten made the two-rider breakaway and completed second to Gaia Realini (Trek-Segafredo), with Vollering taking fifth within the chase group behind. Van Vleuten begins the ultimate stage with a lead of 1:11 over Vollering within the GC, the robust climb to Lagos de Covadonga looming for the end.
Unzué defined the workforce’s technique for the penultimate day, which included evaluation of the winds on stage 6.
“We had Jurgen Roelandts in entrance of the race informing us of the wind situations the place we wished to make the acceleration. We all know these roads completely as a result of we reside near the realm, we’ve been racing right here all our lives and knew that some GC riders wouldn’t anticipate it.
“They made an enormous mistake stopping within the worst attainable second for a pee. We made the identical mistake yesterday with Liane [Lippert] stopping for a pee simply earlier than a climb and she or he was caught up behind. We needed to chase all day. However we accepted our mistake and didn’t complain about different groups accelerating when she was peeing. It’s racing,” Unzué completed.
Crew SD Worx sport director Anna van der Breggen added one other piece to the puzzle, describing how the race jury enforced a barrage behind a gaggle of dropped riders – at some point after the workforce’s second GC card Niamh Fisher-Black fell out of total competition when she was caught behind an identical barrage after a crash.
“Proper after our riders pulled over for a pee break with just a few extra riders from different groups, Movistar, Jumbo-Visma and Trek-Segafredo went all-out. The wind was not even actually a crosswind, it was extra of a headwind at that time. As a result of the distinction in degree within the Vuelta Femenina is sort of large, a small group was dropped.
“The jury instantly determined to make one other barrage, and the vehicles needed to get out of the way in which. That makes it troublesome to get again after a pee break,” mentioned Van der Breggen.
Wind information for the realm in query, northwest of Laredo and west of Santoña, present the wind blowing from the north-northwest. There are two bridges crossing the marshy wetlands of the Ría de Argoños: the primary the place the route of the race was northeast, however the street turns east on a small island afterwards and continues in that route into the city of Santoña. On the primary bridge, the peloton confronted a cross-headwind, then on the second it was a cross-tailwind.
“I’m actually bummed,” Vollering mentioned on the end. “It’s a large disgrace as a result of my legs felt actually good. Hopefully that may nonetheless be the case tomorrow. I’m hungry for revenge and hope to place issues proper tomorrow.”