Stage 2 of the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas was dominated by a three-rider breakaway that was off the front for two-thirds of the 97-kilometre stage but the leader's jersey changed hands due to the tie-breaker between stage 1 winner Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange) and Elise Chabbey (Canyon-SRAM).
In a race with no bonus seconds available, Brown, Chabbey, and Niamh Fisher-Black (Team SD Worx) had been on the same time, and all three finished in the peloton.
"I'm a little surprised that I'm now a leader of a Women's World Tour race! I have not been in this position before, but I am going to go with it and enjoy it tomorrow," said Chabbey after donning the purple leader's jersey.
The peloton finished 1:11 minutes behind solo attacker Anastasia Chursina (Alé BTC Ljubljana) who had been 1:43 minutes off the lead after stage 1. Chabbey crossed the line in 14th place, with Fisher-Black 20th and Brown 33rd, giving Chabbey the overall lead after stage 2.
"Coming into the finish it was still a big group behind the solo leader and unfortunately, I finished behind Elise Chabbey and Niamh Fisher-Black and since this race doesn't have any time bonuses on the finish line, I have moved to third overall," Brown explained. "I don't really like coming into the finish in a big bunch in general and then today with the rain and with the corners, it was a little bit sketchy."
Chursina elated with stage win
Antri Christoforou (Women Cycling Sport), Heidi Franz (Rally Cycling), and Anastasia Chursina (Alé BTC Ljubljana) went off the front after about 30 kilometres, and Chursina made it to the finish after attacking on the final classified climb, and then attacking again after Franz came back on the downhill.
"It was very clear from the start that Chursina was really strong on the climbs," said Franz after the stage. "Once we gained time consistently, I tried to help the girls organise so we could work together, especially into the headwind. We did that really well and gained some minutes when we got into a fast tailwind," she described the cooperation in the breakaway.
Thanks to this cooperation, the advantage of the three escapees grew to over four minutes, but despite that Franz was still skeptical of their chances to contest the stage win.
"I was sure that things would come back on the last GPM or just after, so I never thought about the stage win. When I came back to Chursina on the descent, I thought, wow, maybe this will stay away. But I was struggling to hold her wheel when she came through to the front, and when she attacked, I just had no kick to follow anymore," Franz explained after the stage where she herself was caught by the peloton on the final kilometres.
"I started to believe that my first WorldTour podium was possible, but alas the finish was two kilometres too long! But this is the kind of racing that I love and now I can believe in myself a bit more when the next opportunity comes."
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