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Vuelta a Andalucia Women: Sierra wins opening stage

Vuelta Ciclista Andalucia Ruta Del Sol Elite Women 2022 - 1st Edition - Salobreña - Arenas 105 km - 3/05/2022 - Arlenis Sierra (CUB - Movistar Team) - photo Rafa Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2022
Arlenis Sierra (Movistar) outsprints Mavi García (UAE Team ADQ) to win stage 1 (Image credit: Rafa Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency)

Arlenis Sierra (Movistar) won stage 1 of the inaugural Vuelta Ciclista Andalucia Ruta Del Sol Women on Tuesday. She outsprinted her breakaway partner Mavi García (UAE Team ADQ) to the line in Arenas and made history as the first winner in the inaugural three-day stage race.

Ricarda Bauernfeind (Canyon-SRAM Generation) took third ahead of Sierra's teammate Paula Patino.

Sierra and García held a lead of around 15 seconds on the chasers with 5km to go in the 105.5km opening stage, pushing to the finish across the ascent of the Puerto de Arenas.

"When Mavi attacked, Paula was right on her wheel, and so I started the climb calm, always keeping an eye on Paula and Mavi, making sure she wasn't dropped," said Sierra. "When I realized Paula was conceding a couple of meters, I said: 'OK, I've got to react now and bridge across, because otherwise, she's going to go alone and leave Paulita behind,' which was what happened. 

"It took me a bit to get back to Mavi, because they had opened a considerable gap, but I could reach back halfway through the last descent, and it made things so much easier for me heading into the finish."

With 53.5 km a breakaway of four riders, Idoia Eraso (Laboral Kutxa Fundación), Alessia Bulleri (Eneicat-RBHglobal), Mireia Benito (Massi-Tactic) and Matilda Field (Roxsolt Liv Sram), had an advantage of 2:57, but they could not hold off the charging peloton and were caught before the final climb of the day. On the climb, Sierra and García got away and battled to the finish.

The pair are on equal time in the GC, with Sierra taking the leaders jersey by virtue of the stage win.

"I know that Mavi is a huge competitor, a strong climber, and it will be difficult, you can't deny it, but I won't stop fighting," said Sierra of the battle for the race lead.

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