Three days after winning the individual time trial gold medal at the Olympic Games in Japan, Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar Women) won the Donostia San Sebastián Klasikoa. Her Movistar team worked hard in the final to reduce the gap to a breakaway of six before the final climb of Murgil-Tontorra where Van Vleuten split the peloton and went solo with nine kilometres to go, passing Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Trek-Segafredo) who had attacked from the breakaway.
At the top of the climb, Van Vleuten was 48 seconds ahead of Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo), Pauliena Rooijakkers (Liv Racing), and Évita Muzic (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope). Winder chased hard on the descent and dropped the other two, but Van Vleuten defended her gap to the finish. Winder finished as runner-up 36 seconds later; Rooijakkers and Muzic were caught by a chasing group where Tatiana Guderzo (Alé BTC Ljubljana) won the sprint for third place.
“My first txapela, finally,” Van Vleuten said, referring to the Basque beret awarded to the winner of races in the Basque Country.
“I was always second in the Emakumeen Bira and a bit jealous of the winner’s txapela. I love to race here, and I love the Basque Country.”
Van Vleuten also thanked her teammates: “It is an amazing victory for the Movistar Team. Winning is nice, but we did it all six together. I am so proud of the team, they were so professional, we all came together after the [Gurutze] climb, and then they started to ride. It was a hard race as everyone raced quite well, and the rain made it harder. With the jetlag, I felt a bit more tired, I did not have much sleep, so it was extra hard. But if the team is working so hard, I have to finish it off,” the European champion said.
How it unfolded
Held only a week after the Olympic Road Race in Japan, only four riders who had participated in the Olympics were on the start line of the 2021 Donostia San Sebastián Klasikoa: Soraya Paladin (Liv Racing), Winder, local rider Ane Santesteban (Team BikeExchange), and Van Vleuten – who was the only rider from the Olympic Time Trial to make it to the Basque Country. Three of the nine Women’s WorldTour teams also declined to start, making for a small peloton with 18 teams and 102 riders.
Covering 139.8 kilometres, the women’s race included four classified climbs as well as several unclassified ascents, culminating in the Murgil-Tontorra climb with its 10-percent average gradient and much steeper pitches, cresting eight kilometres from the finish.
Giorgia Vettorello (Top Girls Fassa Bortolo) went on a solo breakaway after a few kilometres but never had more than a minute on the peloton. She was caught by a group of nine others, and this group was reeled in by the peloton with 75 km to go.
Muzic, Rooijakkers, and Santesteban attacked on the Jaizkibel climb and were 1:14 minutes ahead at the top with 50 km remaining. Cordon-Ragot and Olivia Baril (Massi-Tactic) bridged to the front after the descent, and Guderzo also bridged at the start of the Gurutze climb while the peloton let the gap grow so that the front group of six was two minutes ahead with 30 km to go.
Movistar finally took up the chase in earnest on the flat section between the Gurutze and Murgil-Tontorra climbs, and at the bottom of the final climb, the gap was down to less than 40 seconds. Cordon-Ragot attacked and quickly left the rest of the breakaway behind while the pace set by Movistar and, eventually, Van Vleuten, tore apart the peloton. As the remainder of the breakaway was caught, a group formed that included Van Vleuten, Muzic, Winder, Rooijakkers, Guderzo, and Sabrina Stultiens (Liv Racing), about 15 seconds behind Cordon-Ragot.
Halfway up the two-kilometre climb, Van Vleuten attacked from that group, leaving everyone behind and flying past Cordon-Ragot on her way to victory.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Movistar Team Women||3:53:37|
|2||Ruth Winder (USA) Trek-Segafredo||0:00:36|
|3||Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Ale' BTC Ljubljana||0:01:35|
|4||Sabrina Stultiens (Ned) Liv Racing|
|5||Evita Muzic (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|6||Brodie Chapman (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|7||Pauliena Rooijakkers (Ned) Liv Racing||0:01:38|
|8||Audrey Cordon Ragot (Fra) Trek-Segafredo||0:01:52|
|9||Erica Magnaldi (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team|
|10||Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo|
|11||Jeanne Korevaar (Ned) Liv Racing||0:02:00|
|12||Janneke Ensing (Ned) Team BikeExchange||0:02:12|
|13||Eugénie Duval (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|14||Urska Pintar (Slo) Ale' BTC Ljubljana|
|15||Tereza Neumanová (Cze) Women Cycling Sport||0:02:53|
|16||Sarah Roy (Aus) Team BikeExchange|
|17||Katia Ragusa (Ita) A.R. Monex Women's Pro Cycling Team|
|18||Marta Jaskulska (Pol) Liv Racing|
|19||Shirin van Anrooij (Ned) Trek-Segafredo|
|20||Victorie Guilman (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|21||Olivia Baril (Can) Massi Tactic Women Team|
|22||Ane Santesteban Gonzalez (Spa) Team BikeExchange|
|23||Kathrin Hammes (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team||0:03:32|
|24||Debora Silvestri (Ita) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo||0:03:38|
|25||Silvia Persico (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service||0:03:40|
|26||Soraya Paladin (Ita) Liv Racing|
|27||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service||0:03:45|
|28||Anastasiia Chursina (Rus) Ale' BTC Ljubljana||0:03:47|
|29||Sara Martin Martin (Spa) Movistar Team Women||0:03:52|
|30||Elena Pirrone (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service||0:04:00|
|31||Yuliia Biriukova (Ukr) Eneicat-RBH Global-Martin Villa|
|32||Eider Merino Cortazar (Spa) A.R. Monex Women's Pro Cycling Team||0:04:18|
|33||Lauretta Hanson (Aus) Trek-Segafredo||0:05:02|
|34||Jade Wiel (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|35||Spela Kern (Slo) Massi Tactic Women Team||0:05:34|
|36||Urska Zigart (Slo) Team BikeExchange|
|37||Idoia Eraso Lasa (Spa) Laboral Kutxa-Fundacion Euskadi||0:05:53|
|38||Mireia Trias Jordan (Spa) Massi Tactic Women Team||0:05:59|
|39||Maaike Boogaard (Ned) Ale' BTC Ljubljana|
|40||Margaux Vigie (Fra) Valcar-Travel & Service||0:06:30|
|41||Lourdes Oyarbide Jimenez (Spa) Movistar Team Women||0:09:03|
|42||Alicia Gonzalez Blanco (Spa) Movistar Team Women|
|43||Gloria Rodriguez Sanchez (Spa) Movistar Team Women|
|44||Melissa Maia (Por) Team Farto-BTC|
|45||Lucy Kennedy (Aus) Team BikeExchange||0:10:17|
|46||Jelena Eric (Srb) Movistar Team Women||0:13:34|
|47||Federica Piergiovanni (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service||0:15:57|
|48||Claire Steels (GBr) Sopela Women's Team||0:16:08|
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Lukas Knöfler started working in cycling communications in 2013 and has seen the inside of the scene from many angles. Having worked as press officer for teams and races and written for several online and print publications, he has been Cyclingnews’ Women’s WorldTour correspondent since 2018.
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