The biggest talking points ahead of Vuelta a Burgos Feminas - Preview

The podium at Vuelta a Burgos 2022
The podium at Vuelta a Burgos 2022 (Image credit: Getty Images)

Women's WorldTour racing resumes in Spain at the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas set to take place from May 18-21. The four-day race comes off the back of two of the nation's other top-tier stages races La Vuelta Femenina, won by Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar), and Itzulia Women, won by Marlen Reusser (SD Worx).

Vuelta a Burgos is held across the hilly terrain and concludes with a mountaintop finish at Lagunas de Neila, where Juliette Labous (Team DSM) was crowned the overall champion in the 2022 edition.

The race will once again attract some of the strongest sprinters and climbers such as Demi Vollering and Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx). Vollering has proven to be in top form after a winning streak at the Ardennes Classics and finishing second overall at both La Vuelta Femenina and Itzulia Women.

Cyclingnews highlights some of the main talking points ahead of the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas

Join Cyclingnews' coverage of 2023 Vuelta a Burgos Feminas and check back after the event for the full race reports, results, photo galleries, storylines and race analysis

Lagunas de Neila to crown overall champion

Juliette Labous at Vuelta a Burgos

Juliette Labous at Vuelta a Burgos (Image credit: Getty Images)

This year's route varies compared to last year, but the most significant point of the race remains the final stage to the Lagunas de Neila. The 12km climb reaches 1,870 metres in altitude, and while the average gradient is 6.3%, there are pitches as steep as 11.7%.

The three stages before the finale offer undulating terrain, particularly on stage 1, into Medina de Pomar, and stage 2 into Lerma, which could cater to a breakaway or reduced sprint. Stage 3 could present an opportunity for the pure sprinters.

The final day of racing will be a day for the climbers, but as Labous showed last year, a strong and tactical racer could ride away with the whole show. The French woman started the day 15 seconds off the overall lead but then was the strongest of a breakaway that entered onto the slopes of the Lagunas de Neila.

Although Vollering caught her and won the stage, Labous held on to finish second on the day and secured the overall title. Watch for this year's winner to make her move on this decisive ascent.

SD Worx relaxed

Demi Vollering at Itzulia Women

Demi Vollering at Itzulia Women (Image credit: Dario BelingheriGetty Images)

It was a stellar Spring Classics season for SD Worx, and particularly Vollering, where she won Strade Bianche, Dwars door Vlaanderen, and all three of the Ardennes Classics. 

Now that the season has transitioned to stage races, Vollering has proven to be the strongest climber but hasn't translated form that into an overall victory. Still, after winning performances on mountain stages, and after Marlen Reusser's overall win at Itzulia Women, SD Worx head into Vuelta a Burgos relaxed and with several cards to play.

"With Demi Vollering, Marlen Reusser, Mischa Bredewold, Marie Schreiber, Blanka Vas and a fresh Lorena Wiebes, we again have a strong block at the start," director Danny Stam said. 

"Wiebes rode a [great] spring, in which she played an important role in many victories. In addition, she has made a positive contribution to the group. In Burgos, we want to get involved in the sprints with her. There are also two arrivals uphill, including one explosive climb and one long climb. Our aim is to grab another stage and to see how far we get in the general classification."

Vollering finished second overall at both La Vuelta Femenina and Itzulia Women, even though she was arguably the strongest climber at both events. At the Vuelta, she won both mountaintop finishes at Mirador de Peñas Llanas and Lagos de Covadonga. However, she might have won the overall had Annemiek van Vleuten’s Movistar team not controversially upped the pace while she and her SD Worx teammates stopped for a comfort break on stage 6.

At Izulia Women, she performed equally well, winning the first two stages and finishing second overall to her teammate and stage 3 breakaway winner Reusser. 

Vollering lines up at Vuelta a Burgos, her last stage race before taking a much-deserved break, as the overwhelming favourite. She won the stage to Lagunas de Neila last year, and this time around will aim to take the overall title, too. 

Also, watch for a rested Lorena Wiebes in the sprints.

Burgos closes out top-tier racing in Spain

A general view of the peloton racing Lagos de Covadonga

A general view of the peloton racing Lagos de Covadonga (Image credit: Getty Images)

Vuelta a Burgos Feminas will close out a busy period of top-tier racing across Spain during the month of May.

The events began at La Vuelta Femenina, won by Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar), and then the one-day race Navarra Women's Elite Classic, won by Riejanne Markus (Team Jumbo-Visma), Itzulia Women, won by Marlen Reusser (SD Worx) and Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria won by Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (AG Insurance-Soudal-QuickStep).

Vuelta a Burgos Feminas will be the last of the three WorldTour events on tap, but there are two more lower-level events at Gran Premio Ciudad de Eiber (1.1) on May 28 and the five-day Vuelta Ciclista Andalucia Ruta del Sol (2.1) beginning on May 31.

In short, Spain has become one of the most popular nations for both early-season training camps and competition, which provides opportunities for the grassroots and development level all the way to the WorldTour.

Van Vleuten sits out, turns attention to summer racing

Movistar racing at La Vuelta Femenina

Movistar racing at La Vuelta Femenina (Image credit: Getty Images)

Annemiek van Vleuten announced her calendar at the start of this year, in what is her last season before retiring. 

It's been a whirlwind spring for the world champion. She completed a spring classics campaign, took the victory at La Vuelta Femenina and fifth overall at Itzulia Women, which was a bonus race on her calendar, but where she also crashed during the opening stage.

She will now take a break from racing during the Vuelta a Burgos and will instead turn her attention to a late-spring training camp.

Her next big targets will be at the Dutch Championships, Giro d'Italia Donne and Tour de France Femmes, and World Championships in the summer.

Her absence from the Vuelta a Burgos means that the Movistar team will support Sara Martín, Katrine Aalerud, Aude Biannic, Alicia González, Sheyla Gutiérrez and Mareille Meijering.

Sprinters out to play

Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo)

Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) (Image credit: Getty Images)

Lorena Wiebes won't be the only sprinter on the start line. The three opening stages could result in breakaway or bunch sprints making this a race with a target for some of the fastest women in the peloton.

Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) returns to racing after the spring classics with teammate Lauretta Hanson. 

UAE Team ADQ brings Chiara Consonni and Silvia Persico, a talented duo capable of winning stages. Persico, who is also a strong climber, gives the team an overall contender.

Alex Manly and Letizia Paternoster line up for Team Jayco AlUla, while Paris-Roubaix winner Alison Jackson gives EF Education-TIBCO-SVB a fast finisher. Chloe Dygert (Canyon-SRAM Racing) is back to racing after abandoning La Vuelta Femenina, where she finished on the podium in three stages.

Clara Copponi (FDJ-SUEZ) will be eyeing the sprints while the team supports Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig for the overall classification.

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Kirsten Frattini
Women's Editor

Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.

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