It was a day for the specialist time trialists in Madrid on Saturday, former German champion Lisa Brennauer winning stage two of the Ceratizit Challenge.
The 2014 world champion rode excellently on the 9.3km course, finishing in a time of 12.40, one second ahead of Italian champion Elisa Longo Borghini, with 2013 world champion Ellen van Dijk third, a further three seconds down.
Brennauer won the corresponding stage in last year’s race and went on to defend her lead on the final day. The German road champion has a powerful sprint and finished third on stage one, looking well set to repeat last year’s overall victory.
Lorena Wiebes (Sunweb) started the day leading the general classification overall, but finished 11th, 28 seconds down. While the Dutch rider is arguably the best sprinter in the race, she could have a tough job reclaiming the lost time on tomorrow’s flat stage, especially if a break gets away to take intermediate time bonuses.
How it happened
The second of three stages, a time trial has been run on the same 9.3km course in Boadilla del Monte, near Madrid, for the last three years. The first edition was a team time trial, with last year the first individual race.
With a cobbled uphill finish, two short but steep climbs, two dead turns and a number of roundabouts, the course was not an easy one, but certainly suited the purists.
As if to prove the point, former Norwegian champion, Vita Heine set a strong early time, but was soon overtaken by former German champion Mieke Kröger, who stopped the clock with a time of 13.01, 10 seconds better than her Hitec Products team-mate Heine.
Former British road champion Jess Roberts (Mitchelton-Scott) was another early starter, 13.17 her time for the technical course which saw her occupy fourth place for a long while, though she eventually finished 16th.
As the weather which affected live pictures from the penultimate stage of the Vuelta drifted over and rain began to fall, it was the turn for another former national champion to take the lead, as Canadian Leah Kirchmann (Sunweb) set a time of 12.54.
However, soon after Italian road a time trial champion Elisa Longo Brorghini (Trek-Segafredo) set a time which looked set to be the winning one, taking 13 seconds out of Kirchmann stopping the clock on 12.41.
When neither former double world champion, Annemiek Van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) or 2013 rainbow skinsuit Ellen van Dijk were unable to topple the Italian failed to match the Italian’s time she looked set to take the win, but reckoned without Brennauer.
The best British finisher was national champion Alice Barnes, the Canyon-SRAM rider finishing eighth, some 25 seconds down, and will start the final stage in ninth place, 33 seconds behind Brennauer.
Ceratizit Challenge by la Vuelta: stage two, Boadilla del Monte – Boadilla del Monte (9.3km, individual time trial)
1. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT, in 12-40
2. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1 second
3. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, at 4s
4. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott, at 8s
5. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb, at 14s
6. Sarah Roy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, at 18s
7. Mieke Kröger (Ger) Hitec Products, at 21s
8. Alice Barnes (Gbr) Canyon-SRAM, at 25s
9. Maaike Boogaard (Ned) Alé-BTC Ljubljana, at 26s
10. Hannah Ludwig (Ger) Cannyon-SRAM, at 28s
General classification after stage two
1. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT in 2-12-51
2. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, at 10s
3. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, at 13s
4. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott, at 17s
5. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) Sunweb, at 18s
6. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb, at 23s
7. Sarah Roy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, at 27s
8. Mieke Kröger (Ger) Hitec Products, at 30s
9. Alice Barnes (Gbr) Canyon-SRAM, at 33s
10. Maaike Boogaard (Ned) Alé-BTC Ljubljana, at 35s