Lotte Kopecky (Team SD Worx) won the opening stage of the Vuelta a Burgos Féminas in Aranda De Duero. Tereza Neumanová (Liv Racing Xstra) finished second and Emma Norsgaard (Movistar Team) took third on the 121.9km route.
Kopecky, the leader on the Worldtour ranking, earned her third victory of the year in convincing fashion from a group sprint.
The first stage of the Spanish stage race was mostly flat, but crosswinds in the final 30 kilometres led to splits in the peloton. On the uphill finishing straight, Kopecky launched her sprint 180 metres from the finish, quickly distancing Norsgaard. Neumanová came from behind to pass Norsgaard and secure second place.
“It was pretty much a crosswind in the final, so it was hard to stay out of the wind and save as much power as possible. I think I managed really well with Demi [Vollering] in my wheel in case something happened, so I was completely safe there. I knew the uphill sprint really suited me, so I didn’t hesitate and just sprinted, I think with 200 metres to go, and it was enough to hold it to the end,” said Kopecky after the finish.
“It was really hot. It was my first race here in Spain, I didn’t do Itzulia, so it was pretty hot. But I can handle it pretty well, so it was not a problem. Tomorrow is a possible sprint again, it would be nice to take another victory."
As there are no time bonifications in the Vuelta a Burgos Féminas, Neumanová, Norsgaard and the other riders that finished in the first peloton have the same time as Kopecky. Stage 2 on Friday could easily see a change in the overall lead.
How it unfolded
The break of the day was formed very early on the 121.9-kilometre stage from Pedrosa del Príncipe to Aranda de Duero as Andrea Ramírez (Massi Tactic), Lara Vieceli (Ceratizit-WNT), and Matilde Vitillo (BePink) attacked right after the start. Vieceli was first over only classified climb of the day, 1:45 minutes ahead of the peloton, and will wear the red mountain jersey on stage 2.
Their advantage then hovered around a minute for a long time, but 43km from the finish, Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad and, strangely, Massi Tactic and BePink sent riders to the front of the peloton to reduce the gap, with Team DSM and Trek-Segafredo also sharing in the work.
With the gap down to 19 seconds, Ramírez attacked from the front group with 38 km to go. Vitillo and Vieceli were caught 34 km from the finish while Ramírez extended her breakaway by another two kilometres.
After turning to the south-east, the wind came from the side on the last 30 kilometres, and several teams including Trek-Segafredo, FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope, and Team DSM tried hard to force echelons in the peloton. The peloton split into several groups, with Durango - Durango Emakumeen Saria winner Pauliena Rooijakkers (Canyon-SRAM), Veronica Ewers (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB), and Olivia Baril (Valcar-Travel & Service) caught behind, though Rooijakkers managed to get back into the first peloton with help from her teammate Alena Amialiusik.
A peloton of about 60 riders reached the final kilometre together, with Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) doing a long lead out for Soraya Paladin. Neumanová was the first to go out of the saddle but did not have the speed of Kopecky when the Belgian champion launched her sprint. Norsgaard tried to stay in Kopecky’s wheel but had to leave a gap on the uphill finishing straight.
While Kopecky was untouchable, Neumanová squeezed past the Danish sprinter in the final metres to take the runner-up spot.
Norsgaard will wear the white jersey of the best U23 rider on stage 2 while the green points jersey will be on the shoulders of fourth-placed Tamara Dronova (Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad) since Neumanová is the Czech champion and Norsgaard already wears the white jersey.
Results powered by FirstCycling (opens in new tab)
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*
Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
after your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59
Join now for unlimited access
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Latest on Cyclingnews
Mads Pedersen extends with Trek-Segafredo through 2025Former world champion joins fellow Classics leader Stuyven in re-signing with American team
Electric bike conversion kits 2022 – The best available and a guide on how to give your current ride a boostWhy invest in a whole new bike when the best electric bike conversion kits allow you to fit the latest technology on your current steed?
The Tour de France leaves Denmark via two-hour flights and 900km drivesHow the race undertook the biggest transfer in its history on Monday
Tour de France winning bikes: Which brand has won the most Tours in history?A history of the most successful bike brands at the Tour de France