Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and Marta Cavalli accompanied her at the final podium
Annemiek Van Vleuten didn’t miss the opportunity to show who’s the stronger in the bunch this season, winning at the decisive third stage of the Setmana Cilista Valenciana with a solo cycling masterpiece, sentencing the final general classification and announcing her reign in the season if no one fixes it, after the Anna Van Der Breggen’s retirement.
|1.- Annemiek Van Vleuten (Movistar)||13:25:30″|
|2.- Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope)||+1:00″|
|3.- Marta Cavalli (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope)||+1:57″|
|4.- Ellen Van Dijk (Trek Segafredo)||+2:29″|
|5.- Grace Brown (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope)||“|
|6.- Katarzyna “Kasia” Niewiadoma (Canyon SRAM)||+2:35″|
|7.- Elise Chabbey (Canyon SRAM)||+2:36″|
|8.- Silvia Zanardi (BePink)||+2:38″|
|9.- Margarita “Mavi” García (UAE ADQ)||“|
|10.- Juliette Labous (DSM)||+2:46″|
|11.- Ane Santesteban (BikeExchange Jayco)||+2:47″|
|12.- Veronica Ewers (EF Education Tibco SVB)||+2:49″|
|13.- Katrine Aalerud (Movistar)||+2:53″|
|14.- Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek Segafredo)||+2:55″|
|15.- Clara Koppenburg (Cofidis)||“|
|16.- Nadia Quagliotto (BePink)||+2:58″|
|17.- Brodie Chapman (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope)||+2:59″|
|18.- Soraya Paladin (Canyon SRAM)||+4:44″|
|19.- Floortje Mackaij (DSM)||+4:56″|
|20.- Alexandra Manly (BikeExchange Jayco)||+4:58″|
|21.- Camilla Alessio (Ceratizit WNT)||+5:06″|
|22.- Erica Magnaldi (UAE ADQ)||+5:43″|
|23.- Victoire Guilman (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope)||+5:55″|
|24.- Eugenia Bujak (UAE ADQ)||+6:18″|
|25.- Hanna Nilsson (Ceratizit WNT)||+6:24″|
The champion of the world was the fastest at the 1st stage
Elisa Balsamo imposed her pedal stroke at the first stage of the Setmana Ciclistica after the rwork control of her teammates in the bunch. The majority of fireworks on the stage came in the final 20km where a trio formed by Annemiek Van Vleuten, Marta Cavalli and Mavi García followed by Cecilie Ludwig, Ane Santesteban and Veronica Ewers went clear on the final climb, only to be caught by the chasing peloton with just 3km remaining. Naomi De Roeck (Bingoal Casino Chevalmeire), Antri Christoforou (Farto), Agnieta Francke (Sopela) or Erica Magnaldi (UAE ADQ) who finally won the mountains classification, were the other breakawayers of the day.
|1.- Elisa Balsamo (Trek Segafredo)||3:00:30″|
|2.- Ruby Roseman Gannon (BikeExchange Jayco)||“|
|3.- Anouska Koster (Jumbo Visma)||“|
|4.- Alexandra Manly (BikeExchange Jayco)||“|
|5.- Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek Segafredo)||“|
|6.- Soraya Paladin (Canyon SRAM)||“|
|7.- Karlijn Swinkels (Jumbo Visma)||“|
|8.- Silvia Zanardi (BePink)||“|
|9.- Grace Brown (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope)||“|
|10.- Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope)||“|
Canyon SRAM was the best team with Soraya Paladin in the 6th position: “In the first part of the race, Neve (Bradbury) and Alena (Amialiusik) were actively covering a lot of dangerous moves. We made a hard pace on the second last climb with Alena, Kasia (Niewiadoma) and Elise (Chabbey) which reduced the size of the peloton and worked in our favour for the final“, explains Paladin.
“Pauliena attacked going into the last climb and I managed to come back to the main group just before the GPM. After the downhill, we discussed again our plan and decided to stick with sprinting for me. We knew it was important to take the last roundabout in the first position. My teammates did perfectly and I have to admit I’m not 100% satisfied to get sixth. But I know we can improve from this“.
Ellen Van Dijk confirms the Trek Segafredo superiority at the first two stages
The european champion Ellen Van Dijk won at the second stage after her breakway with Soraya Paladin. Althought the italian has a sprinter profile, she was more tired than Van Dijk at the last meters, but she could bring the leader’s jersey to Canyon SRAM anyway.
|1.- Ellen Van Dijk (Trek Segafredo)||3:20:47″|
|2.- Soraya Paladin (Canyon SRAM)||“|
|3.- Marta Bastianelli (UAE ADQ)||+3″|
|4.- Annemiek Van Vleuten (Movistar)||“|
|5.- Silvia Zanardi (BePink)||“|
|6.- Margarita “Mavi” García (UAE ADQ)||“|
|7.- Nadia Quagliotto (BePink)||“|
|8.- Marta Cavalli (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope)||“|
|10.- Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek Segafredo)||“|
“It was a really hard but fun day” said Paladin after the podium ceremony. “I was feeling quite good before the sprint but she (Van Dijk) was just stronger. When you don’t win you can’t be 100% happy, but this does give a lot of confidence to our team“.
“We were on fire, especially Elise and Kasia, and we came with numbers in the final part of the race. It was really nice to see how committed the team was and how we reacted after yesterday’s stage. At the point when I went, we had good numbers so it could have been any one of us that got away“.
Jeanne korevaar (Liv Racing XStra), Elise Chabbey, Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon SRAM), Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE ADQ), Marta Cavalli, Grace Brown, Marie Le Net, Brodie Chapman (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine), Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek Segafredo), Juliette Labous and Floortje Mackaij (DSM) made other escape attemps from the bunch before the one that succeed by Van Dijk and Paladin at only 13 km. to go.
Van Vleuten hits the road on the 3rd stage
The key stage of the week was won by Annemiek Van Vleuten after leaving everybody behind exhibiting her superiority. Only the winner of the race in 2017, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, Marta Cavalli and Mavi García could keep her pace but only until the penultimate climb of the day.
“It has been nice to see the team working so well after two days that have been harder for them. It has given me great joy to see them ride together, always ahead“, said the winner, who got time enough to assure the final general classification.
“I knew that 17 minutes from the finish line, within the penultimate climb, there was a part at 7% and then it softened to five percent. As there was also a lot of headwind, it was a situation for the rivals that allowed them to take my wheel and no gap could be opened. I had some doubts about attacking from such a distance. I have asked Paula (Patiño) to set a strong pace with Katrine (Aalerud) continuity and in the 7% zone I’ve started and only García, Uttrup and Cavalli have endured“, continues Annemiek.
“Something that I am very good at is keeping that rhythm as if I were timetrialing on the way to the finish line… and that is what I’ve tried to do. The radio didn’t work for me on the last climb, but with 2 km to go the car was able to get next to me, encouraging me and helping me, and it was a goosebumps finish“.
|1.- Annemiek Van Vleuten (Movistar)||4:07:46″|
|2.- Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope)||+1:07″|
|3.- Marta Cavalli (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope)||+1:51″|
|4.- Grace Brown (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope)||+2:27″|
|5.- Margarita “Mavi” García (UAE ADQ)||+2:28″|
|6.- Ellen Van Dijk (Trek Segafredo)||+2:37″|
|7.- Ane Santesteban (BikeExchange Jayco)||“|
|8.- Juliette Labous (DSM)||“|
|9.- Elise Chabbey (Canyon SRAM)||“|
|10.- Katarzyna “Kasia” Niewiadoma (Canyon SRAM)||+2:39″|
Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek Segafredo), Anouska Koster (Jumbo Visma), Silke Smulders (Liv Racing XStra), Matilde Vitillo (BePink) and Alexandra Manly (BikeExhange Jayco) tried to escape for the bunch along the day before the final Van Vleuten’s attack.
Marta Bastianelli takes her chance at the last stage
Valencia is definitively the lucky city for Marta Bastianelli, who won recently at the one day Volta a Valencia race too. This time Bastianelli defeated her compatriot Balsamo at the final sprint of the bunch with a discreet Lorena Wiebes in the 9th position, while Van Vleuten had no problem to consolodate her victory at the final overall.
|1.- Marta Bastianelli (UAE ADQ)||2:56:23″|
|2.- Elisa Balsamo (Trek Segaferdo)||“|
|3.- Susanne Andersen (Uno X)||“|
|4.- Georgia Baker (BikeExchange Jayco)||“|
|5.- Sarah Roy (Canyon SRAM)||“|
|6.- Silvia Zanardi (BePink)||“|
|7.- Karlijn Swinkels (Jumbo Visma)||“|
|8.- Valentine Fortin (Cofidis)||“|
|9.- Lorena Wiebes (DSM)||“|
|10.- Martina Alzini (Cofidis)|
The escapes from the bunch during this last day were in charge of Teuntje Beekhuis (Jumbo Visma), Emma Langley (EF Tibco), Mieke Kroger (Human Powered Health), Lija Laizane (Eneicat), Danielle Shrosbree (CAMS Basso) and Grace Brown (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitauine).
Annemiek Van Vleuten dedicated her final victory to the soigneur of the team Gary Baños, who died recently, and to Amy Pieters, still in hospital after her training accident.
The Dutch roder declared that “truly, it’s amazing to realize that only four and a half months have passed since the hard fall I had in Roubaix, and that I was only able to leave the crutches behind in mid-December. It’s nice to start the season like this, being able to get a result like that so soon. It also takes a lot of pressure off me to see that the team and myself are back in such good shape“.