Itzulia Women - Vollering wins stage 3 to take overall victory

Demi Vollering (Team SD Worx) has stamped her authority on the inaugural Itzulia Women, winning all three stages and the general classification. On the final stage, run on the course of the Clásica San Sebastián, Vollering attacked over the top of the final climb, the steep Murgil Tontorra, and soloed to the finish in Donostia, crossing the finish line 15 seconds ahead of Liane Lippert (Team DSM) who outsprinted Marta Cavalli (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) to win the sprint for second place.

Pauliena Rooijakkers (Canyon-SRAM) finished the Basque stage race as overall runner-up, 47 seconds behind Vollering, with Kristen Faulkner (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) rounding out the podium at 1:07 minutes.

"It was an awesome race, I really liked the course. It was really hot again today, that also made it hard. I am very grateful to my team, we had only four riders, but four super-good climbers, and you really need climbers here because it’s always going up or down," Vollering thanked her teammates.

Talking about her stage-winning attack on the Murgil Tontorra, she said: "We wanted to keep the jersey, that was the main goal, and I felt that I still had something left on the last steep climb. I went for it and then just gave it all I had left. I am really happy to win again."

How it unfolded

The final stage of the Itzulia Women was held on the same 139.8-kilometre course as the last years’ Clásica San Sebastián, with the Jaizkibel and Murgil Tontorra among its four classified climbs.

Marit Raaijmakers (Human Powered Health) and Giorgia Bariani (Top Girls Fassa Bortolo) were the first to break away, and Morgane Coston (Arkéa Pro Cycling Team), Naia Amondarain (Sopela Women’s Team), and Margaux Vigie (Valcar-Travel & Service) joined them after a long chase.

Marta Jaskulska (Liv Racing Xstra) and Lija Laizane (Eneicat-RBH Global) as well as Georgia Williams (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) and Špela Kern (Massi Tactic) also jumped away from the peloton to chase, but they never made it to the front.

The breakaway started the Jaizkibel with a four-minute advantage. Coston left everyone else behind on the climb and continued on her own while the other escapees were reeled in on the descent.

Then Jelena Erić (Movistar Team) attacked from the peloton and was joined by Mireia Benito (Massi Tactic), Nina Buijsman (Human Powered Health), and Tereza Neumanová (Liv Racing Xstra), but they were caught again on the category-three climb to Gurutze.

After attempts by Stine Borgli (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) and Anna Shackley (Team SD Worx), it was Jeanne Korevaar (Liv Racing Xstra) who jumped free of the peloton with 25 kilometres to go, accompanied by Shirin van Anrooij (Trek-Segafredo). They steadily gained ground on Coston, reaching her 19.5 km from the finish.

Starting the Murgil Tontorra climb with gradients of up to 19 percent 35 seconds ahead of the peloton that was already falling apart, Van Anrooij quickly dropped Korevaar and Coston. Fighting her way up the hairpin, she was finally caught by a group of eight riders only 300 metres from the top of the climb.

Vollering made her move soon afterwards, opening a small gap on Rooijakkers. Racing down the fast descent into Donostia, the race leader increased her advantage to 20 seconds and had plenty of time to celebrate her third stage victory in as many days.

Vollering also won the points classification while her teammate Fisher-Black, seventh overall, was the best U23 rider. Elise Chabbey (Canyon-SRAM) took home the polka-dot jersey as the winner of the mountain classification.

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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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