Demi Vollering wins it all in La Vuelta Femenina 24

Written by: Niels Goudriaan
Posted 3 weeks ago

Demi Vollering wins the 8th and final stage of La Vuelta Fememenina byh Carrefour 2024. The rider of Team SDWorx-Protime lived up to her status of being the rider to beat on the Queen stage of the race. The Dutch rider finished solo after a fierce attack in the fnal 3.5km of the final uphill Hors Category climb at Valdesquí Communidad de Madrid. Vollering also wins the General Classification ahead of fellow Dutch rider Riejanne Markus and Italian Champion Elisa Longo Borghini

 

How the race unfolded

An early start today due to the Giro start in Italy and all times slots of broadcast are not able to show both races at the same time. The means that the Giro is more important than La Vuelta Fememina by Carrefour.es. Today’s stage 8th and final stage was a gnarly one! With a climb of the first Category halfway and another Hors Category mountain summit finish to the ski resort at Valdesquí Communidad de Madrid the riders knew it was not going to be an easy ride on the bike.

The rider with the best papers for today’s start was Demi Vollering. The Team SDWorx-Protime rider started the stage Red leaders jersey, La Roja, with a comfortable lead over Elisa Longo Borghini in second place. The Italian champion of Lidl Trek needed +52 seconds to win the General Classification. A hard task, but nothing is impossible, as we saw in last years final stage of La Vuelta Femenina with the fiht between Demi Vollering and Annemiek van Vleuten!

Minutes before 11am the riders hit kilometer 0 and everyone wanted to be in a break today. From the first kilometers riders tried to break clear from the peloton but a controlling Team SDWox-Protime were not ready to let just anybody go into a break.

Kilometer 18 and we have a 13 rider break from 12 different teams. Jelena Eric (Movistar Team),Elena Cecchini (SD Worx-Protime), Brodie Chapman (Lidl-Trek), Karlijn Swinkels (UAE Team ADQ), Abi Smith (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL), Marianne Vos (Visma | Lease a Bike), Alessia Vigilia (FDJ-SUEZ), Flora Perkins (Fenix-Deceuninck), Silke Smulders (Liv-AlUla-Jayco), Sarah Gigante and Mireia Benito (AG, Insurance-Soudal), Lily Williams (Human Powered Health), Magdeleine Vallieres (EF Education-Cannondale)

As the race approached its first major climb, several riders attempted to bridge to the leading group but were quickly reeled back in by the peloton. On the ascent, the intensity increased, leading to Eric, Cecchini, Williams, Smith, and Perkins falling off the pace and being absorbed by the chasing peloton.

Team DSM Firmenich PostNL seized control at the start of the climb, working effectively to further diminish the size of the chase group. Maud Oudeman from Visma | Lease a Bike made significant inroads, her efforts resulting in dropping notable competitors including Spanish champion Mavi Garcia and Amanda Spratt.

By the time the peloton reached the first summit, the Puerto de la Morcuera—a challenging first-category climb stretching 9.1 km with an average gradient of 6.8%—only 20 riders managed to hang on. Ahead, the eight leaders maintained their advantage, setting the stage for a grueling continuation of the race.

But when Paulina Rooijakkers attacks on the early kilometers of the climb, the situation is looking completely different. The Fenix DeCeuninck rider powers away, overtakes the break away riders and goes solo. When Team SDWox-Protime takes over in the chasing group, the break is officially over. When Grace Brown takes the helm of the group the group is even thinned out more. Brown proved to be the ultimate domestique earlier in the race three days ago in stage 6, today she repeated that trick driving the group up the mountain. She thinnes out the chasing group and just before the summit, Rooijakkers is caught. That means Evita Muzic now has a free ride towards the summit to take full points for the Polkadot jersey. Behind the FDJ Suez rider, Yara Kastelijn takes 10 points and Antonia Niedermeyer 6. The French rider now leads the classification and got a good shot of taking the jersey home, if she finishes ahead of Demi Vollering.

The descent in the race was equally thrilling, with speeds reaching up to 83 km/h, making the course increasingly technical as it neared the bottom. Niamh Fisher Black found herself in a precarious situation when she approached a left turn too quickly and nearly tipped over the barrier. Fortunately, she managed to regain her balance, remount her bike, and continue the race. Meanwhile, Ricarda Bauernfeind attempted a breakaway during the descent, but her effort was swiftly countered by the SDWorx-Protime team.

As the riders approached the bottom of the climb, an intermediate sprint added to the excitement. Karlijn Swinkels surged ahead, capturing full points in the sprint, while Riejanne Markus secured an additional 4 seconds of bonus time, which proved crucial for her General Classification standing by the end of the day. Close behind, Elisa Longo Borghini claimed the final 2 bonus seconds.

Meanwhile Karlijn Swinkels was +1’ ahead of the group of 17 riders starting the final climb of the day and race, the Cima Estela Domínguez towards the finish line of Comunidad de Madrid’s Valdesquí. This climb of the Hors Category is 12,8km long with an average of 4.8% but also has maximum gradients of 10%.

Grace Brown from FDJ Suez took the reins and single-handedly reeled in Karlijn Swinkels, causing significant disruption in the main group. Her efforts resulted in dropping renowned climbers like Niamh Fisher Black and Marlen Reusser, leaving Demi Vollering isolated with only 12 riders remaining. As they approached the final 6.5km, Brown’s relentless pace finally took its toll, and she eased off, exhausted.

At that critical moment, Demi Vollering launched her attack, instantly putting pressure on the GC contenders. Elisa Longo Borghini found herself struggling to keep pace, while Evita Muzic, Yara Kastelijn, Riejanne Markus, and Ricarda Bauernfeind tried desperately to keep up with the surging Dutch leader, ultimately conceding to Vollering’s superior strength. The peloton fragmented into three distinct groups: Vollering at the front, the four chasers behind, and a third group trailing with Juliette Labous.

In the final kilometers, Elisa Longo Borghini, the Italian Champion, demonstrated her climbing capabilities, determinedly closing the gap to the chase group in a bid to secure her podium position. Meanwhile, Riejanne Markus pushed hard, aiming to overtake Longo Borghini for a spot on the final podium. The Dutch time trial specialist, knowing her capabilities, fiercely pursued the Italian LidlTrek rider.

At the finish line of the final stage of La Vuelta Femenina by Carrefour.es 2024, Demi Vollering of the Dutch Team SD Worx-Protime celebrated her dual victory by acknowledging the crowd with a swing and a smile, before dismounting and triumphantly lifting her bike overhead. Vollering secured both the stage win and the General Classification title.

Évita Muzic also delivered a strong performance in the 8th stage, the only rider able to keep pace with Vollering, finishing second at 29 seconds behind. Her efforts earned her a commendable top 5 position in the General Classification and narrowly missing the polkadot jersey by just two points.

Riejanne Markus showcased exceptional skill, finishing the stage third, 33 seconds behind Vollering and securing a 4-second time bonus. This performance allowed her to surpass Elisa Longo Borghini in the rankings, though Longo Borghini retained her spot on the podium, finishing third overall.

Stage 8 results:

  1. Demi Vollering (SD Worx-Protime)
    2. Évita Muzic (FDJ-SUEZ) +29”
    3. Riejanne Markus (Visma | Lease a Bike) +33”
    4. Pauliena Rooijakkers (Fenix-Deceuninck) +53”
    5. Ricarda Bauernfeind (Canyon//SRAM) +56”

Top 5 General Classification:

  1. Demi Vollering (SD Worx-Protime)
    2. Riejanne Markus (Visma | Lease a Bike) +1’49”
    3. Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl-Trek) +2’00”
    4. Juliette Labous (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL) +2’58”
    5. Évita Muzic (FDJ-SUEZ) +3’15”

La Vuelta Femenina by Carrefour has firmly established itself as a Grand Tour worthy of its place on the WorldTour calendar. Featuring a diverse array of stages, including sprints, breakaways, and mountain climbs, La Vuelta is a stage race that truly stands out.

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