Vuelta Femenina stage 8: Demi Vollering wins overall title and final mountain stage

Dutch rider drops all her rivals on the final climb of the race to seal dominant win

Clock11:43, Sunday 5th May 2024
Demi Vollering winning the final stage and the overall title at the Vuelta Femenina

© Getty Images

Demi Vollering winning the final stage and the overall title at the Vuelta Femenina

Demi Vollering (SD Worx-Protime) sealed a dominant overall win at the Vuelta Femenina with a comprehensive victory on the final mountain stage to the summit of the Valdesquí ski resort.

The race leader attacked with 6.5km to go and immediately put all of her rivals in difficulty before soloing clear to take her second stage win of the race, with both coming at summit finishes.

The Dutch rider held her lead all the way to the finish to win alone and seal the first Grand Tour of the 2024 season.

Évita Muzic (FDJ-SUEZ) finished second on the stage, 29 seconds down, with Riejanne Markus (Team Visma-Lease a Bike) crossing the line four seconds later.

Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl-Trek) came into the stage sitting second overall but was dropped as soon as Vollering put the hammer down. The Italian was put into the red and despite battling back through the final stages of the race she was unable to hang onto second overall, slipping to third at two minutes back, with Markus' consistency rewarded with second overall at 1:49.

The final climb to the ski resort was an epic battle between the best GC riders in the world with FDJ-SUEZ gunning for another stage win in the race and a possible podium spot for Muzic. Grace Brown was pivotal in the French squad's tactics as she set a furious pace on both of the day's climbs and she whittled down the front group to just a dozen or so riders.

However when Vollering accelerated Muzic and Markus were the only riders able to truly follow and they too were distanced due to the relentless pace of the SD Worx-Protime rider.

“It’s really nice, the team did a really good job the whole day. I was a bit nervous, because this last climb, I thought it wasn’t so super hard. It’s difficult because of the headwind and it’s not super steep," Vollering said at the finish.

"There was one part where we turned a bit and went in the back so there I thought I need to attack, and I need to make sure I have a gap so the rest will have a headwind to chase me back. I could extend my gap and stay out so I’m really happy to win this stage. It’s really nice to finish it off like this. We did a really good tour here, some podiums and two stage wins, so I think we can be very proud of ourselves."

An explosive battle on the queen stage

The final and queen stage of this year’s Vuelta Femenina would always decide this year’s race and the wearer of the red jersey, with the daunting prospect of the Puerto de la Morcuera and the summit finish to Valdesquí squeezed into just 90km of racing.

From the start, attacks rained down on the main field before an elite group of 16 riders moved clear of the stretched-out peloton. That featured Silke Smulders (Liv AlUla Jayco), Marianne Vos (Team Visma-Lease a Bike), Sarah Gigante (AG Insurance-Soudal Team), Magdeleine Vallieres (EF Education-Cannondale), Karlijn Swinkels (UAE Team ADQ), Mireia Benito (AG Insurance-Soudal Team), Lily Williams (Human Powered Health), Brodie Chapman (Lidl-Trek), Elena Cecchini (Team SD Worx-Protime), Flora Perkins (Fenix-Deceuninck), Jelena Erić (Movistar Team), Alessia Vigilia (FDJ-SUEZ), Abi Smith (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL), Alena Amialiusik (UAE Team ADQ), Stine Dale (Team Coop - Repsol), and Antri Christoforou (Roland).

The firepower was clearly in attendance but with so much still on the line, the peloton kept the group at around one minute as the break hit the lower slopes of the 9.1km long Puerto de la Morcuera with 44km to go.

FDJ-SUEZ and DSM set the pace for the peloton as up front Benito blew the break apart in the services of Gigante. The Australian climber, who had endured terrible luck with crashes in the race, picked up where her teammate left off and dragged Chapman and Swinkels with her as the gradient continued to rise. But with the peloton hovering at less than 40 seconds, it wasn’t long before the catch was made.

Marlen Reusser (Team SD Worx-Protime) moved to the front of the main field to assist Vollering and her work reduced the red jersey group to less than 20 riders as the leading trio were reeled in. Brown, who had worked tirelessly for Muzic all race, took over at the front soon after and it was somewhat telling that Longo Borghini drifted to the back with around 1km to climb.

Muzic accelerated to pick up maximum points in the KOM competition before a long and not-too-technical descent towards the final major test of this year’s race. Niamh Fisher-Black (Team SD Worx-Protime) hit the barriers on the downhill but thanks to some excellent skills managed to stay upright, while Swinkels took off with 19km to go as the GC riders readied themselves for the last climb.

Vollering makes the difference

Brown once more set the pace for the front of the race and one by one riders began to slip back under the pressure. With 8.5km to go Longo Borghini already looked in trouble, along with several other riders, but there was a slight regrouping with Pauliena Rooijakkers (Fenix-Deceuninck), Ricarda Bauernfeind and Antonia Niedermaier, (Canyon-SRAM), Juliette Labous (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL), Yara Kastelijn (Fenix-Deceuninck), and Kim Cadzow (EF Education-Cannondale) in tow. But when Vollering made her move with 6.5km to ride there were few answers.

Muzic and Markus briefly managed to answer the Dutch rider’s call but they too were distanced as the race was quickly reduced to a battle for the remaining podium spots. Longo-Borghini looked well out of contention but reduced her deficit and even began to pick her way through the field, but she came up short despite a valiant effort.

Race Results

1

nl flag

VOLLERING Demi

Team SD Worx-Protime

2H 43' 06"

2

fr flag

MUZIC Evita

FDJ-SUEZ

+ 29"

3

nl flag

MARKUS Riejanne

Team Visma | Lease a Bike

+ 33"

4

nl flag

ROOIJAKKERS Pauliena

Fenix-Deceuninck

+ 53"

5

de flag

BAUERNFEIND Ricarda

CANYON//SRAM Racing

+ 56"

6

fr flag

LABOUS Juliette

Team dsm-firmenich PostNL

+ 1' 00"

7

it flag

LONGO BORGHINI Elisa

Lidl-Trek

"

8

de flag

NIEDERMAIER Antonia

CANYON//SRAM Racing

"

9

nl flag

KASTELIJN Yara

Fenix-Deceuninck

+ 1' 10"

10

nz flag

CADZOW Kim

EF Education-Cannondale

+ 1' 28"

Provided by FirstCycling

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