La Vuelta Femenina: Charlotte Kool wins stage 2 as Vos gains race lead
·5 min read
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Charlotte Kool (Team DSM) won stage 2 of the Vuelta Femenina, a mostly flat affair from Orihuela to Pilar de la Horadada that came down to a mass sprint. Chloé Dygert (Canyon-SRAM) tried to anticipate the sprint with a late attack 500 metres from the finish, but Marianne Vos (Team Jumbo-Visma) went after the American and reached her with 100 metres to go, but Kool then jumped from Vos' wheel to take the stage. Dygert still held on to finish in third place.
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“This is my first big win in a Grand Tour, really nice to do it on the first sprint opportunity. It was a hectic final, we knew that. I was almost boxed in, but luckily I found the right wheel in the end. Canyon made it a really, really long sprint, so it was a hard one,” said Kool after the finish.
Due to the time bonifications at the finish, Vos is the new overall leader, one second ahead of Dygert.
How it unfolded
Criss-crossing the region of Murcia, the first road stage had only one categorised climb on its 105.8 km, the Puerto de Rebate, cresting 19 km from the finish.
The break of the day consisted of Coralie Demay (St Michel-Mavic-Auber 93), Catalina Soto (Bizkaia Durango), Iurani Blanco (Laboral Kutxa-Fundación Euskadi), and Andrea Casagranda (BePink). They built an advantage of up to 1:20 minutes, but the peloton took up the chase early and reduced this to only 30 seconds with 56 km to go when a crosswind section split both the break and the peloton.
Soto and Casagranda were caught a few kilometres later while the two pelotons merged again, but Demay and Blanco continued on their own. Blanco was awarded the combativity prize and will wear the white jersey on stage 3.
After a fast descent into Torremendo, a crash in the peloton brought down several riders just as Demay and Blanco were caught. Silvia Persico (UAE Team ADQ) was the most prominent victim, sporting a large spot of road rash for the rest of the stage.
Due to the close GC, the intermediate sprint and its bonus seconds were highly sought after. Femke Markus (Team SD Worx) took six bonus seconds ahead of her sister Riejanne (Team Jumbo-Visma) and Dygert, putting Riejanne Markus in the virtual race lead.
Dygert kept up the pace into the Puerto de Rebate climb that consisted of several short climbs interspersed with downhill sections. Later on, her teammates Kasia Niewiadoma and Élise Chabbey attacked to make the race even harder, whittling the peloton down to about 30 riders.
Jade Wiel (FDJ-SUEZ) went for the mountain points and crested the climb just ahead of Alba Teruel (Laboral Kutxa-Fundación Euskadi), but they were reeled in again on the descent. The size of the peloton grew again on the 19 kilometres towards the finish, and after negotiating four 90-degree turns within the final three kilometres, everything was set up for a bunch sprint.
Dygert placed an attack with 500 metres to go, shooting out of the peloton with speed on the right side of the road and quickly opening a gap. Vos saw the danger and went after the American, getting onto her rear wheel just over 100 metres from the line. As Vos went around Dygert and looked over her right shoulder, Kool came out of her slipstream on the Dutch superstar’s left side with superior speed, winning her first Grand Tour stage with a bike length.