Demi Vollering on track for second clean sweep of Itzulia Women stages
Demi Vollering will look to make it three wins from the three stages at this year's Itzulia Women on tomorrow's final stage to Donostia, and if the SD Worx rider achieves that it will also be six wins from all six stages in the history of Itzulia Women given she delivered a clean sweep in 2022.
After soloing to victory on the opening stage, Vollering triumphed again on stage 2 by winning the reduced group sprint ahead of Soraya Paladin (Canyon SRAM) and teammate Marlen Reusser (SD Worx), much to her surprise after almost crashing.
"I cannot believe it again. This was not really the plan, then it came to the final and we really hoped that Marlen [Reusser] could put a really good attack in and stay away but it was not possible because it was going downhill too much," said Vollering.
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"On the slippery roads, it was tricky and then I saw that I was in a good position to sprint. Marlen [Reusser] did a good lead out and I tried to sprint. It was also uphill; actually, it was a finish that suited me."
"It was very good weather today, only the final 10k it started to rain and we started to feel that the road was really slippery. I almost went in the roundabout, then in the last corner it almost went wrong too, so I'm really happy everyone stayed safe there."
Vollering is having the season of her career so far and is proving unstoppable on most terrains.
Saturday's victory was the 21st of the Dutch rider's professional career and her 17th at the UCI Women's World Tour level. She took a hat-trick of stages at the inaugural Itzulia Women race in 2022 ahead of Pauliena Rooijakkers (Canyon SRAM) and Kristen Faulkner (Jayco AlUla) with a final winning gap of 47 seconds.
The current Women's World Tour overall leader is already over a minute ahead of anyone in the general classification, except for Reusser who sits 56 seconds in arrears.
Vollering will have to navigate a tough final stage starting and finishing in Donostia, over 114.8km. There are two categorised climbs to Jaizkibel (7.9km at 5.6%) and to Mendizorrotz (4.1 at 7.3%) with the latter's summit arriving 28.6km from the finish.
"Maybe I can repeat it again tomorrow, that would be a dream," Vollering said. "Obviously, I'm in good shape but tomorrow is again a difficult day and first of all you need to stay safe and make it to the final and we can see what will happen tomorrow.
"I'm looking forward to it. That's really a hard climb in the final and then afterwards a nice downhill but then also it's quite a long time flat so I'm not sure how it will go."
SD Worx will look to defend the yellow leader's and green points jerseys, alongside the queen of the mountains classification which is currently led by Vollering and teammate Niamh Fisher-Black (SD Worx) on equal points.
"We made a nice little goal with the team that maybe I could have a go at going for the QOM points and it's nice for the team to put some pressure on the climbs and it makes a good race," said Fisher-Black.
"It's a really nice stage tomorrow. I did it last year and it's similar, a little bit different, but I'm looking forward to the steep climb at the end and I think it's going to be a really nice race for the team and we've got a yellow jersey to defend."