2024 Itzulia Women: Who Will Conquer the Rugged Terrain and Mountains of the Basque Country?

2nd itzulia women 2023 stage 1
Itzulia Women 2024: Route, How to Watch, FavoritesDario Belingheri - Getty Images

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The third edition of the three-day Itzulia Women stage race kicks off in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, on Friday, May 10. The Women’s WorldTour race covers 358.9 km with more than 5000 meters of climbing in northern Spain’s Basque Country. This year, the past two winners—Demi Vollering and Marlen Reusser—will be on the start line. But on the heels of la Vuelta Feminina last week, which racer will still be sharp enough to handle the climbs and breakaways that will likely define this race?

Race History

Itzulia Women is only in its third year, but already it’s attracted a star-studded field. Past winners include Demi Vollering and Marlen Reusser (SD Worx-Protime), both of whom will be racing again this year. Last year, Reusser and Vollering went 1-2, with Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM) in third overall.

This year, the three-day race comes at a great time: On the heels of the Vuelta Feminina, it’s a good chance for riders to add extra race days in sunny Spain. And with the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas coming up next week (May 16th through 19th), also in Spain, the race ensures that riders keep their legs sharp for a long racing block.

The Route

This year marks the most mountainous edition of the course, with nine mountain passes: one Category 1, two Category 2, and six Category 3 climbs.

Stage 1: Vitoria-Gasteiz to Elgoibar (140 km)

The first stage is also the longest—tough for racers who just finished the Vuelta Feminina just a few days ago! The 1473 meters of climbing over the 140 km includes the Olaeta pass climb, where the race organizers anticipate seeing a breakaway or solo attack go.

itzulia women 2024 route
Itzulia Women

Stage 2: Basauri to Basauri (104 km)

Stage 1 might be the longest, but the elevation gain ramps up in the final two stages: Over 104 km, the racers will climb 1547 meters.

itzulia women 2024 route
Itzulia Women

Stage 3: Donostia to Donostia (114.9 km)

The biggest climbing day of the race, Stage 3 boasts almost 1800 meters of elevation gain. The route simulates the San Sebastian Classic, a one-day men’s race in August, and finishes with a climb up the Murgil wall to Mendizorrotz, followed by a blistering descent and a final slog to the finish—make sure you’re tuned in to watch the finale, especially if there’s still a group together.

itzulia women 2024 route
Itzulia Women

How to Watch Itzulia Women in the U.S. and Canada

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that the race will be live-streamed in North America. Check the Itzulia Women YouTube for race highlights after each stage.

How to Watch Itzulia Women in the UK

In the UK, you can catch live coverage of the 2024 Itzulia Women on Discovery+. A standard Discovery+ subscription costs £6.99 per month or £59.99 annually and grants access to Eurosport’s cycling coverage and a wide range of other live sports.

The race will also be streamed live on Amazon with a Discovery+ subscription.

Riders to Watch

This race is very likely going to be SD Worx-Protime’s race to lose since many of the other teams are holding back some of their stronger riders and race leaders, likely to give them a break before next week’s Vuelta a Burgos Feminas. Still, nothing is guaranteed.

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Luc Claessen - Getty Images

Demi Vollering (SD Worx-Protime) - Vollering won the race in 2022 and was second to her teammate last year. She had a fantastic ride at the Vuelta Feminina earlier this week, and assuming she’s not exhausted, it’s a safe bet that she’ll be up at the front of this race.

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Luc Claessen - Getty Images

Marlen Reusser (SD Worx-Protime) - Reusser won last year and has said she’s ready to go for a second win at this race. She had a rough early season due to illness and injury, but she rode well in the Vuelta Feminina and is clearly back in fighting form.

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Luc Claessen - Getty Images

Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM) - After finally taking a Classics win at La Flèche Wallonne, Niewiadoma would normally be the rider to watch in terms of women who stand a chance against the SD Worx behemoth. But she had a rough Vuelta Feminina and pulled out of the last stage, citing illness, so it’s TBD if she’ll be fully recovered by tomorrow.

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Alex Broadway - Getty Images

Shirin van Anrooij (Lidl-Trek) - Van Anrooij is still looking for a win this season despite hitting the podium several times. Unlike Vollering, Reusser, or Niewiadoma, she didn’t race the Vuelta Feminina last week, so she has a bit more recovery in her legs. Will that help or hinder?

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Alex Broadway - Getty Images

Juliette LaBous (dsm–Firmenich PostNL) - Finally, LaBous has been in quite a few breakaways this season and was fourth at the Vuelta Feminina. She’s always a podium contender, but has yet to have that breakaway ride that puts her in true contention for the overall.

A few notables mentions:

  • Keep an eye on the Holmgren sisters (Lidl-Trek): Isabella Holmgren has two junior world championship titles to her name (MTB and cyclocross), and her sister Ava is just as skilled on the bike. The twins are in their first year of WorldTour level racing but have already had some impressive results, and we won’t be surprised if one of them snags a stage win or podium.

  • A glance at the roster shows no EF Education First-Cannondale team on the start line. That’s a bummer since watching Alison Jackson and Kristen Faulkner crush it at the Vuelta Feminina last week was a real treat.

Iztulia Women Startlist

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