Photo finish sees 21-year-old Matilde Vitillo take surprise WorldTour victory at Vuelta Burgos

The Breakaway survives for victory and a surprise new general classification leader in Jenifer Ducuara

Matilde Vitillo (left) (BePink) wins stage two of the 2022 Vuelta a Burgos Feminas ahead of Nina Buysman (Human Powered Health)
Matilde Vitillo (left) (BePink) wins stage two of the 2022 Vuelta a Burgos Feminas ahead of Nina Buysman (Human Powered Health)
(Image credit: Gonzalo Arroyo Morino/Getty)

The 21-year-old Italian Matilde Vitillo took a surprise stage win from a day long breakaway at the Vuelta Burgos on Friday.

With the peloton finally bearing down on the seven woman leading group, the BePink rider started her sprint over 250m from the line, and held on despite Dutchwoman Nina Buysman (Human Powered Health) appearing to have crossed the line first.

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As it turned out Buysman was just millimetres behind, finishing second with Lara Vieceli (Ceratizit-WNT) finishing third.

While the victory was Vitillo’s first professional win, the day was also momentous for 26-year-old Colombian, Jenifer Ducuaro (Colombia Tierra de Atletas), whose sixth place, one second behind the winner, was enough for her to take the general classification lead. 

Ducuaro has barely raced in Europe, and with her inexperienced Colombian team will need to work very hard to hold on to the overall lead in the remaining two stages. While Saturday’s 

Saturday’s stage between Medina de Pomar and Ojo Guareña finishes with a steep but short classified climb, and with Friday’s result likely to sting the big teams they will be more aggressive in taking the race by the scruff of the neck. 

How it happened

After the opening day bunch kick a similar outcome was expected for the second day, a 128km stage between Sasamón and Aguilar de Campoo. 

Leaving the start town the parcours headed to Villadiego before looping around and continuing north to Humada for a repeat performance, though this loop contained the first of two classified climbs. Back on our northern trajectory, the second climb came 33km from the line, for a rolling ride to the line.

The race began with German powerhouse Mieke Kröger (Human Powered Health) getting away with Lara Vieceli, the Ceratizit-WNT rider in search of points to maintain her lead in mountains classification after being in the break on Thursday. However, the peloton were not in the mood to let them go, and they were brought back.

It took a while for another group to get away, and only after 35km did Vieceli once again infiltrate  a breakaway group. The Italian was joined by Nina Buysman (Human Powered Health), Jennifer Ducuara (Colombia Tierra de Atletas), Aranza Villalón (Eneicat-RBH Global) Maaike Coljé (Massi Tactic), and the BePink pair of Matilde Vitillo and Nora Jenčušová, building a lead approaching three minutes.

Meanwhile, as the gap steadily increased Natalia Franco (WorldCycling Centre) and Catalina Soto (Bizkaia Durango) launched themselves up the road in a vain attempt to bridge to the leaders. But while they closed to within 1-20, they then began to drop back, as the peloton’s deficit extended to 5-30, with only 55km remaining.

That gap only increased, and as the leaders entered the final 45km it was in excess of seven minutes, a lead rarely seen in women’s racing, it seemed that Ducuara - the only one in the break to finish in the bunch on stage one - might take the overall race lead.

A few kilometres later SDWorx headed to the front of the peloton, Roxane Fournier and Scot, Anna Shackley working to bring the gap down. However, with one minute gained and no obvious help from other teams the Dutch squad melted back into the bunch, Canyon-SRAM eventually taking their place.

As the gradient of the final climb began to bite and with Kasia Niewiadoma on the front the deficit began to tumble, and with 30km to go was down to 4-15 and a breakaway win suddenly seemed less of a certainty.

After the ensuing descent, Canyon-SRAM looked to others for help and though Liv-Xstra gave some assistance, with Shackley also in attendance, the gap stabilised once again, the leaders taking and advantage of 3-50 into the final 20km. 

Realising not only the stage win, but the GC was also possibly up the road, other teams lent their weight, and, as the leaders entered the final 10km their advantage was 1-35, DSM and Trek-Segafredo also helping out, sensing success.

BikeExchange-Jayco had different ideas though, attacking the pursuing bunch rather than helping out and inviting other teams to do the same, undermining cohesion in the chase, and with the gap still at 50 seconds five kilometres out, breakaway success seemed assured.

But it was tense, especially when Movistar came to the front hoping to deliver Emma Bjerg to success. However, with much of the final downhill, even with assistance from Trek-Segafredo and SDWorx the gap was not coming down quickly enough, stage one winner Lotte Kopecky (SDWorx) leading the peloton home seven seconds behind the winner.

Result Vuelta a Burgos Feminas, stage two: Sesamòn - Aguilar de Campoo (128km)

1. Matilde Vitillo (Ita) BePinnk in 3-17-58
2. Nina Buysman (Ned) Human Powered Health
3. Lara Vieceli (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT
4. Aranza Villalón (Chile) Eneicat-RBH Global all at same time
5. Nora Jenčušová (Slv) BePink at .01 sec
6. Jennifer Ducuara (Col) Colombia Tierra de Atletas GW Shimano
7. Maike Coljé (Ned) Massi Tactic all at same time
8. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) SDWorx at .07 sec
9. Emma Bjerg (Den) Movistar
10. Tamara Dronova (Slo) Roland-Cogeas-Edelweiss all at same time 

General classification after stage two 

1. Jennifer Ducuara (Col) Colombia Tierra de Atletas GW Shimano in 6-39-48
2. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) SDWorx at .06 sec
3. Emma Bjerg (Den) Movistar
4. Tamara Dronova (Slo) Roland-Cogeas-Edelweiss
5. Tereza Neumanova (CZE) Liv-Xstra
6. Nina Kessler (Ned) BikeExchange-Jayco
7. Floortje Mackaij (Ned) DSM
8. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Canyon-SRAM
9. Letizia Borghesi (Ita) EF Education-Tibco-SVB
10. Marie Le Net (Fra) FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope 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.