Former world champion Marta Bastianelli took a sprint victory in the first women’s race of the 2022 season, Vuelta CV Feminas on Sunday.
The Italian benefitted from excellent, if unconventional team work, the 34-year-old navigating the final largely alone after her team punctuated the final with a series of jabs and parries off the front.
After exiting the final corner, around 400m out, Norwegian rider Susanne Andersen was first to open the sprint, taking to the front with just over 200m remaining. However, as the 23 year-old faded she touched shoulders with last year’s winner Chiara Consonni (Valcar Travel and Service) who crashed hard.
Her team-mate Ilaria Sanguinetti held on for second though, Barbara Guarischi (Movistar) crossed the line third but was later relegated, with Kathrin Schweinberger (Ceratizit-WNT) taking her place the final podium.
The race was ridden at high pace throughout, the final average speed on the relatively fast course close to 42kmh.
Just a one day event, the area also hosts a similarly named four stage race beginning on February 17.
This is Bastianelli’s final season. The 2008 world champion has had two relatively lean years and will be hoping to replicate the 2019 season where she was in dominant early season form, winning a number of WorldTour races including the Tour of Flanders.
How it happened
The first European women’s race of 2022 might only have been a third tier, 1.1 race, but it was held on the same route at the final stage of the 2.Pro men’s Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.
The opening neutralised section rolled out of from the suburb of Paterna before looping north then back south to finish in Valencia 92km later. Though the route was not flat, it was far from mountainous, with no classified climbs and largely downhill for most of the final 30km. As such a sprint finish was expected.
With couple of crashes and break away attempts the opening 60km were eventful. Brit, Becky Storrie (CAMS-Basso) was one of the escapees, gaining a small gap, but was brought back by the raging bunch, though the team, the only British squad in the race, remained attentive near the front.
The race remained fast and combative as it headed back into Valencia, numerous small short-lived attacked punctuating the run, as the likes of Valcar Travel and Service, Uno-X and UAE Team ADQ controlled the front for their sprinters.
Only as the race entered the final 10km did the majority of the bunch accept a sprint finish, Movistar coming to the front and controlling for Italian sprinter Barber Guarischi, who has finished second in the race’s two preceding editions.
However, with seven kilometres to go three strong women briefly clawed their way free, but the Valcar Travel and Service team of last year’s winner Chiara Consonni were having none of it, bringing them back 2,000m later and the race was set for the expected sprint finish.
Result Vuelta CV Feminas: Paterna - Valencia (92km)
1. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) UAE Team ADQ in 2-11-32
2. Ilaria Sanguinetti (Ita) Valcar Travel and Service
3. Kathrin Schweinberger (Aut) Ceratizit-WNT
4. Susanne Andersen (Nor) Uno-X
5. Sandra Alonso (Esp) Ceratizit-WNT
6. Anniina Ahtosalo (Fin) Uno-X
7. Anna Trevisi (Ita) UAE Team ADQ
8. Tania Calvo (Esp) Laboral Kutxa
9. Mylene de Zoete (Ned) NXTG by Experza
10. Alice Sharpe (Ire) IBCT all at same time
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Owen Rogers is an experienced journalist, covering professional cycling and specialising in women's road racing. He has followed races such as the Women's Tour and Giro d'Italia Donne, live-tweeting from Women's WorldTour events as well as providing race reports, interviews, analysis and news stories. He has also worked for race teams, to provide post race reports and communications.
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