Triple Crown as Vollering wins her third Itzulia Women stage to seal the overall

A remarkable performance sees the SD Worx rider win all three stages and the general classification after only winning one race this season to date

Demi Vollering (SDWorx) after winning the final stage and general classification at the 2022 Itzulia Women
(Image credit: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty)

Demi Vollering took a remarkable triple crown on Sunday, winning her third consecutive stage to take the overall at Itzulia Women.

Her general classification winning margin of 45 seconds undersells the enormity of her victory. Throughout the three days neither she or her SD Worx team were under pressure. While each day was won with a relatively narrow margin, they were also won in comparative comfort.

Sunday’s stage always looked as through it suited the 25-year-old, whether it had ended in a reduced bunch sprint or otherwise. As it was she attacked at the top of the Murgil Tontorra climb, eight kilometres from the line in Donostia San Sebastián, dropping her rivals.

The descent to the finish was sketchy, Vollering’s team-mate, Scot, Anna Shackley suffering a crash, but it suited her skills and she was able to finish alone with 15 seconds to spare.

Second over the line was DSM’s Liane Lippert, winning the sprint from a group of 10, with Marta Cavalli (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope taking third.

As for the GC, the crash for Shackley and an ill-timed mechanical for Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio meant SD Worx only had two in the top 10, though all were safely in the top 20. Twenty-one year-old New Zealander Niamh Fisher-Black finished seventh after taking fourth on the final stage.

The ever improving Pauliena Rooijakkers (Canyon-SRAM) backed up an impressive 2022 campaign to date with second overall, while BikeExchange-Jayco’s American Kristen Faulkner was third. 

How it happened

The final stage of this three day race was an exact replica of last year’s one day Donostia San Sebastián Clasica, staged in 2021 after the first edition of the three day race was cancelled due to the pandemic.

With four classified climbs in the 139.8km course included the areas’ signature Jaizkibel ascent, and the 20% beast that is Murgil Tontorra only eight kilometres form the finish, making for a tough day in the Basque sunshine.

After winning the opening two stages Demi Vollering (SD Worx) began the stage with a lead of 22 seconds on the general classification, a relatively secure lead, but they had to be careful who they let up the road.

An aggressive start saw a number of riders try and fail to get away, but after 15km of fighting Marit Raaijmakers (Human Powered Health) and Giorgia Bariani (Top Girls Fassa Bortolo) escaped, soon building a lead of one minute.

With that lead established a number of others attempted to bridge across, Morgane Coston (Arkea) and Naia Amondarain (Sopela) getting within 30 seconds before the Spanish rider gradually drifted backwards. A few kilometres later Coston did the same, the two leaders entering the closing 90km with a lead of three minutes on the peloton.

Having dropped back Coston and was joined by Amondarain and Margaux Vigie (Valcar Travel and Service) the trio eventually clawing their way to the front, to make a five woman breakaway. Behind, Liv-Xstra’s Polish rider Marta Jaskulska had also attacked, finding Lisa Laizane (Eneicat-RBH Global) in the gap.

Jaskulska’s ride was truly remarkable, she and her Latvian colleague worked hard, dragging themselves to within 1-30 of the leaders, whose advantage on the peloton had risen to five minutes.

However, with the Jaizkibel looming the bunch began to stir, and the peloton began taking chunks out of the breakaway’s advantage.

But the race wasn’t done with new escapees, as, with the peloton four minutes down, former New Zealand road and time trial champion Georgia Williams (BikeExchange-Jayco) headed up the road with Špela Kern (Massi Tactic). And as the peloton took time out of the leaders the two new breakaway riders maintained a lead on the bunch of about one minute.

Jaizkibel took its toll, and while Coston forged on alone, the chasing groups began to shatter, spread all over the beautifully scenic but brutal climb. Behind, the peloton were gnawing away at the leader’s advantage, occasional attacks lifting the pace and bringing the gap down further.

With the other breakaway riders back in the peloton, Coston carried on alone, her lead being slowly eroded. Movistar’s Jelena Erić took a group of four away, gaining a lead of almost one minute on the peloton. But they were caught by a seething bunch as the race headed back to Donostia San Sebastián to cross the line before a 17km lap and the brutal Murgil Tontorra. 

Before they reached the line though, two very strong riders attacked the bunch. Shirin van Anrooij (Trek-Segafredo) and Jeanne Korevaar (Liv-Xstra) caught the Frenchwoman with 19km to go. After being off the front for so long Coston received some undeserved criticism from the other two, the gap to the peloton increasing to 1-30 as the Murgil Tontorra approached.

There was no escape for the three leaders. First Korevaar, then Coston succumbed, but Van Anrooij survived until meters for the top, and just seconds before Vollering launched her race winning move. 

Result Itzulia Women, stage 3: Donsotia San Sebastián - Donostia San Sebastián (139.8km)

1. Demi Vollering (Ned) SDWorx in 4-01-03
2. Liane Lippert (Ger) DDSM at 15 sec
3. Marta Cavalli (Ita) FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
4. Niamh Fisher-Black (NZL) SDWorx
5. Shirin van Anrooij (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
6. Floortje Mackaij (Ned) DSM
7. Veronica Ewers (USA) EF Education-Tibco-SVB
8. Paula Patiño (Col) Movistar
9. Juliette Labous (Fra) DSM
10. Pauliena Rooijakkers (Ned) Canyon-SRAM al at same time 

Final general classification

1. Demi Vollering (Ned) SDWorx in 10-11-54
2. Pauliena Rooijakkers (Ned) Canyon-SRAM at 47 sec
3. Kristen Faulkner (USA) BikeExchange-Jayco at 1-07
4. Marta Cavalli (Ita) FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope at 1-21
5. Juliette Labous (Fra) DSM at 1-33
6. Liane Lippert (Ger) DSM at 1-44
7. Niamh Fisher-Black (NZL) SDWorx at 1-47
8. Floortje Mackaij (Ned) DSM at same time
9. Paula Patiño (Col) Movistar at 1-50
10. Veronica Ewers (USA) EF Education-Tibco-SVB 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.