Spanish champion Mavi García won her first WorldTour race on Saturday, taking victory on the uphill finish to Ojo Guareña on stage three of the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas.
The Spanish champion escaped with French champion, Evita Muzic around 15km from the finish, the pair holding off the attentions of the peloton.
On the final climb García put a huge dig in, dropping the French woman with around 650m to go, leaving the FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope rider to finish second. Leading the chasing bunch home, Liane Lippert (DSM) sprinted to third place, edging out Lotte Kopecky (SDWorx).
It was another exciting finish in the four day race. While stage one produced crosswinds and a bunch kick, and Friday’s second stage culminated with a breakaway win, Saturday’s stage was breathless throughout, no break managing to properly establish itself, the pace frantic throughout.
García’s victory was only assured in the final kilometre, and the 38 year-old will hope to defend her 12 second GC lead on the fearsome climb to Lagunas de Neila.
A former duathlete, García frost came to the cycling fan's consciousness with her performance at the scorching 2020 Strade Bianche where she was part of the day's breakaway, but held on with Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar).
Since then she has been there or thereabout, winning lower level races and multiple national titles, but today mark a landmark for the Mallorca resident.
How it happened
After the opening stage bunch kick and the stage two breakaway success, intensity in this year’s Vuelta Burgos stepped up a notch for stage three.
The 113.4km stage started in Medina de Pomar, looping south, returning to the start town then heading north to tackle the first of two classified climbs. The route then looped north, approaching the finish climb at Ojo Guareña from that direction.
The third stage of last year’s race finished on the same 1.2km same climb, a full bunch reaching the bottom before Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine) led a 13 woman group home.
One of the race headlines came before the neutralised roll out, with pre race favourite and one of the riders of the season so far, Pauliena Rooijakkers (Canyon-SRAM) withdrawing after looking out of sorts on the opening two days.
With the other big hitters wary after the breakaway success of stage two, speed was high in the early part of the race, no breakaway able to form. Only after 25km of high pace did two of the race’s top sprinters, Chloe Hosking (Trek-Segafredo) and Emma Bjerg (Movistar) get a gap, but that did not last, and soon after they were caught the peloton split, a 22 women group going clear.
Still the race didn’t settle though, and with the peloton back together, just over half way through the stage a group of five got away. After finishing second from the breakaway on stage two, Nina Buysman (Human Powered Health) was up the road again, this time with Marta Jaskulska (Liv-Xstra), Lucinda Bran (Trek-Segafredo), Sandra Alonso (Ceratizit-WNT) and Eleonora Gasparini (Valcar Travel and Service).
With so much of the stage already behind them though, the peloton were in no mood to allow such a strong group of women to build any meaningful advantage, and they were caught just as the classified climb to Alto Retuerta began.
Despite the punchy finish, this climb was not without incident, Uttrup Ludwig’s team mate, Marie Le Net making an early move on the steepest slopes, the reaction to which thinned out the pack.
BikeExchange-Jayco’s American Kristen Faulkner led towards the top, leaving only seven women to crest the climb, 26km from the finish. On the descent Faulkner crashed having touched a wheel in the feed zone, but managed to tag onto another group, catching the leaders and forming a group of around 15.
As had become the pattern for the day, this group would not settle and after a brief hiatus, Spanish champion Mavi García (UAE Team ADQ) rode off the front of the group, taking her French counterpart, Evita Muzic (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) with her.
Peloton politics then kicked in behind, SDWorx, with four in a chasing group which had swollen to around fifty, forced to the front as the two national champions built a lead together. As the peloton grew the leaders were briefly within touching distance, about 15 metres ahead, but when the chasers looked to each other García and Muzic took advantage.
While the peloton looked to SDWorx, who were now working for Lotte Kopecky, though it never increased substantially despite the best efforts of the Dutch based squad behind. The leaders eventually took a lead of 30 seconds into the final kilometre, García holding on for victory.
Result Vuelta a Burgos Feminas, stage three: Medina de Pomar - Ojo Guareña (113.4km)
1. Mavi García (Esp) UAE Team ADQ in 2-46-23
2. Evita Muzic (Fra) FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope at 12 sec
3. Liane Lippert (Ger) DSM at 15 sec
4. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) SDWorx
5. Kasia Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM
6. Silvia Persico (Ita) Valcar Travel and Service
7. Juliette Labous (Fra) DSM
8. Krista Doebel-Hickok (USA) EF Education-Tibco-SVB
9. Paula Patiño (Col) Movistar
10. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope all at same time
General classification after stage three
1. Mavi García (Esp) UAE Team ADQ in 9-26-17
2. Evita Muzic (Fra) FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope at 12 sec
3. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) SDWorx at 15 sec
4. Tamara Dronova (-) Roland-Cogeas-Edelweiss
5. Krista Doebel-Hickok (USA) EF Education-Tibco-SVB
6. Letizia Borghesi (Ita) EF Education-Tibco-SVB
7. Kasia Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM
8. Juliette Labous (Fra) DSM
9. Elise Chabbey (Sui) Canyon-SRAM
10. Paula Patiño (Col) Movistar all air 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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