Itzulia Women: Demi Vollering solos to stage win and overall title on final day

Another masterclass from the Dutchwoman and more domination from SD Worx-Protime

Clock11:36, Sunday 12th May 2024
Demi Vollering alone in the lead on the final day of Itzulia Women

© Getty Images

Demi Vollering alone in the lead on the final day of Itzulia Women

Demi Vollering (Team SD Worx-Protime) sealed a spectacular solo victory on the third and final stage of Itzulia Women, attacking on the final climb of the day and time trialling her way to the win in Donostia.

Vollering ensured a continuation of SD Worx’s 100% record at the race, with the team having won every stage of the race in the three years since its inception in 2022.

With the stage win came victory in the general classification, as Vollering deposed her teammate Mischa Bredewold to claim the green jersey of overall winner by 34 seconds.

Behind her, the battle for second place on the day saw Bredewold miss out, with Lotto Dstny Ladies’ Thalita de Jong the strongest in the reduced bunch sprint.

There was still a one-two for SD Worx though, as Bredewold finished second in the GC, with Juliette Labous (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL) in third overall.

A hilly final day

Travelling in a loop from Donostia back to Donostia, the final stage of the race replicated the route of the former one-day San Sebastián Classic and, with almost 1,800m of altitude gain, it was the day that would decide the overall winner of the 2024 edition of Itzulia Women.

With the most significant challenge of the day – the iconic category 1 Jaizkibel – complete, a strong breakaway group carved out a gap of over two minutes. The 13-woman break contained a great deal of quality, comprising: Amanda Spratt (Lidl-Trek); Agnieszka Skalniak-Sójka (Canyon-SRAM), Eleonora Ciabocco, (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL), Marie Le Net (FDJ-SUEZ), Claire Steels (Movistar), Nikola Noskova (Cofidis), Victorie Guilman (St-Michel-Mavic-Auber 93), Laura Asencio (Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling), Blanka Vas (Team SD Worx-Protime), Elena Perrone (Roland), Urksa Zigart (Team Jayco-AlUla), and the Fenix-Deceuninck duo of Inge van der Heijden and Carina Schrempf.

However, despite the relative strength of the group of escapees, with the overall win on the line the peloton were in no mood to give them any space. They closed the gap to one minute with 40 kilometres still to race, with FDJ SUEZ working with SD Worx to bridge the gap on behalf of Evita Muzic.

In the break, Movistar’s Claire Steels tried her luck with an attack on the final ascent of the race – the category 2 ascent up to Mendizorrotz – but behind the peloton meant business, and the pivotal climb would see the break finally caught, and the attacks come that would decide the overall result of the race.

An intimidating 7.3% gradient over the climb’s 4.1 kilometre distance offered the perfect launchpad for the strongest climbers, and with the leg-snapping Murgil Wall to contend with midway through the climb, it had an immediate impact, with the breakaway group splitting up and the strongest riders pushing ahead. Amanda Spratt and Elise Chabbey were the two able to hold off the pressure from the rear for the longest as the climb progressed, despite the reduced bunch nipping at their heels.

Vollering goes solo

The punishing gradients had a positive impact for Demi Vollering though, and she forged ahead of the chasing bunch with Juliette Labous on her wheel, closing up to the leaders, Spratt and Chabbey. With teeth gritted, Vollering cranked up the pace, looking around to see the damage she was doing as she moved into the lead.

And the damage was significant. Vollering dropped Labous and moved clear at the summit of the climb, and, with 30km still remaining to the finish line, she engaged time trial mode.

Trailing 19 seconds on the overall standings at the beginning of the day, Vollering knew she would have to put some distance between herself and the rest. She made progress on the flat section following the climb, and managed to avoid any incidents on the damp descent, with the rest of the GC hopefuls trying in vain to chase her down.

The chase group included Labous, Chabbey and Muzic, but with Marlen
Reusser also in the group running interference there was little hope of them bridging the gap, which continued to hold steady.

As Vollering closed in on Donostia, the chasing group were only able to gain a few seconds, but the Dutch national champion held firm and in fact added more seconds to her lead as she approached the finish line, time trialling her way to her second consecutive GC victory in Spain following her recent success at La Vuelta Femenina.

In her wake, the battle was on for the podium places, both on the stage and on the GC, and with the third group of chasers catching the second, the winner of stage 1 and 2, Mischa Bredewold, was able to sprint for the second spot. Alhough she couldn’t hang on for second on the stage, with Thalita de Jong pipping her to the line, she ensured a one-two for SD Worx on the general classification.

Race Results

1

nl flag

VOLLERING Demi

Team SD Worx-Protime

3H 03' 34"

2

nl flag

DE JONG Thalita

Lotto Dstny Ladies

+ 44"

3

nl flag

BREDEWOLD Mischa

Team SD Worx-Protime

"

4

ca flag

BARIL Olivia

Movistar Team

"

5

ch flag

CHABBEY Elise

CANYON//SRAM Racing

"

6

ch flag

REUSSER Marlen

Team SD Worx-Protime

"

7

fr flag

LABOUS Juliette

Team dsm-firmenich PostNL

"

8

fr flag

KERBAOL Cédrine

Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling

"

9

nl flag

VAN ANROOIJ Shirin

Lidl-Trek

"

10

nz flag

WYLLIE Ella

Liv AlUla Jayco

"

Provided by FirstCycling

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