Two for two for Bredewold in Itzulia

Written by: Neil Cormier
Posted 2 weeks ago

Mischa Bredewold (SD Worx-Protime) once again sprinted to victory at the Itzulia Women Tour, taking stage 2 ahead of breakaway companions Mavi García (Liv AlUla Jayco) and Juliette Labous (dsm-firmenich PostNL). Bredewold now leads on the GC, 14 seconds ahead of Labous, and 15 seconds ahead of García. Bredewold’s teammate, Demi Vollering, sits in fifth place on the GC at 19 seconds.

“This is really unexpected and crazy. I really did not expect this today,” said Bredewold afterwards. “The team was so good and super attentive, and we all make each other calm because we’re always there. [On the climb] I could not hold on with the best riders, but that’s actually what I expected before. It was still so long to the finish, so everything came back.”

“The gap was really small in the end, we have to discuss it,” said Bredewold about team tactics for tomorrow’s stage 3. “Again, I want to race openly, and if the other girls see a chance, it’s nice for them to do something. I am feeling really good.”

How the race unfolded

The race started with very little action from the peloton until around 17km, when Valentina Cavallar (Arkéa – B&B Hotels) forced a small gap and was the first to crest the first category 3 climb, Sarasola Gaina (2.9km, 3.5%), and pick up the mountain classification points.

After Cavallar was absorbed, the peloton continued along at an easy pace for the next 20km or so until the second category 3 climb, Aretxabalgane Gaina (4.1km at 5.7%), where, once again, Valentina Cavallar (Arkéa – B&B Hotels) attacked and was able to pick up additional mountain classification points.

With less than 50km remaining, it appeared that no one in the peloton was willing to attack and that the race would be played out on the last climb, the category 2, Urruztigaina (1.6km at 12.6%). As the climb approached with 38km to go, SD Worx-Protime upped the pace at the front and Niamh Fisher-Black (SD Worx-Protime) launched an attack that stretched out the peloton, but dropped her teammate and race leader, Mischa Bredewold. After a few hundred meters, Fisher-Black pulled off and teammate Demi Vollering took over for the next 250 meters and crested the climb first, followed by Elise Chabbey (Canyon//SRAM).

On the descent, it was Vollering and Chabbey, followed by Vollering’s teammate, Marlen Reusser who was further back in third position. As the descent leveled off, Reusser bridged the gap to the two leaders and they became a trio with a gap of around 15 seconds on the peloton. Over the next few kilometers, Chabbey wisley declined to work with the two riders from the same team – despite their arm waving and verbal coaxing – and as a result, a group of five riders from behind were able to catch the trio.

Now eight riders, this powerful lead group consisted of: Marlen Reusser, Demi Vollering (both Sd Worx-Protime), Elise Chabbey (Canyon//SRAM), Ricarda Bauernfeind (Canyon//SRAM), Juliette Labous (dsm-firmenich PostNL), Evita Muzic (FDJ-SUEZ), Pauliena Rooijakkers (Fenix-Deceuninck), an Mavi Garcia (Liv AlUla Jayco).

This group of eight quickly grew their gap to almost one minute with 27km to go, but an Intermediate sprint at kilometer 81.7, which was won by Chabbey, and lack of cooperation, slowed the group down and by the 20 km mark their gap was only 30 seconds.

Two kilometers later, the lead group’s gap was again cut in half to 15 seconds and shortly thereafter they were absorbed by the peloton.

With less than 15km to go, riders in the reduced peloton began to attack, but the flat nature of the course made it difficult, until 12km to go, when Juliette Labous (dsm-firmenich PostNL) attacked up a grade and was able to create a gap. Sensing the danger, Mavi Garcia (Liv AlUla Jayco) and Mischa Bredewold (SD Worx-Protime) bridged up to make it a trio with a 14” advantage on the peloton.

Lidl-Trek and Movistar attempted to chase, but there was little cooperation from any other team and the trio were able to increase their lead to 22 seconds with 8km to go.

Efforts by individual riders and team Movistar reduced the trio’s gap to less than 14 seconds in the final kilometer. By the 700 meter mark, where the course ramped up to the finish, the peloton had cut the gap down and the trio, led by Labous, was now hanging on by less than 10 seconds.

At the 300 meter mark, Labous lead out the sprint with García on her wheel, followed by Bredewold. With 150 meters to go, García started her sprint, but was unable to hold off Bredewold who easily came around her and won by 5 bike lengths. A few seconds later, Olivia Baril (Movistar) led in the fast charging peloton to take fourth place.

Tomorrow’s stage 3 (114.9km) is considered the “most decisive stage of the race” with three categorized climbs.

 

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