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Demi Vollering Reigns Supreme: A Recap of the Thrilling La Vuelta Femenina 2024

By Megan Flottorp

The 2024 edition of La Vuelta Femenina culminated in a thrilling showcase of talent and determination, with Demi Vollering of SD Worx-Protime emerging triumphant. Vollering sealed her overall victory with a dominant win in the final stage, further solidifying her status as a force in women’s pro cycling. Evita Muzic of FDJ-Suez outpaced Reijanne Markus for second place on the line. Still, Markus’s impressive performance propelled her to second in the General Classification, ahead of Elisa Longo Borghini of Lidl Trek.

It has been a wild week of racing to kick off this year’s major stage races. Vollering’s solo victory in the final stage marked the culmination of an exhilarating seven days filled with dramatic moments and fierce competition. Let’s delve deeper into the highlights and drama that unfolded throughout each stage of this prestigious Grand Tour!

Stage 1: Nail-Biting finish

The race ignited with a fiery start as teams vied for supremacy in the flat, fast-paced team time trial in Valencia, Spain. Lidl-Trek’s impressive display of speed and cohesion propelled them across the finish line at an average speed just shy of 50 km/h, culminating in a remarkable time of 19 minutes and 20 seconds. This stellar performance positioned Gaia Realini at the forefront, earning her the honour of donning the leader’s jersey as the peloton embarked on stage two.

The race was not without hiccups, though. The team encountered a moment of uncertainty as Ellen van Dijk and Elynor Bäckstedt endured crashes, momentarily disrupting their momentum in the final push towards the finish line. Yet, the American team rallied together, overcoming adversity to secure victory by the narrowest of margins—a mere 0.02 seconds ahead of their closest rivals, Visma-Lease a Bike.

Stage 2: Alison Jackson secures a spectacular sprint victory

Stage two was a breathtaking display of sprinting prowess from Alison Jackson of EF Education-Cannondale, who navigated chaos and crashes to emerge ahead in a reduced sprint finish. Jackson outpaced her rivals to claim the stage win. Blanka Vas’s ascent to the general classification lead underscored the significance of bonus seconds in shaping the race dynamics, setting the stage for a fiercely contested battle for the coveted red jersey.

Stage 3: Marianne Vos triumphs on the anniversary of her maiden pro victory

On day three, Marianne Vos of Visma-Lease a Bike delivered a masterclass in sprinting, clinching victory amidst a fractured peloton caused by crashes in the final kilometres. Vos’s victory, coinciding with her first-ever pro-win anniversary, served as a testament to her enduring legacy and unrivalled talent. Blanka Vas’s retention of the leader’s jersey further solidified her dominance at this stage in the race.

Stage 4: Kristen Faulkner solos to victory

Stage four unfolded with sheer grit and determination from Kristen Faulkner of EF Education–Cannondale, who surged ahead in a solo sprint after a daring breakaway in the final kilometres. Faulkner’s performance showcased resilience and fortitude as she crossed the line with a commanding lead over her competitors. Marianne Vos’s ascension to the top of the general classification standings set the stage for a thrilling battle for supremacy in the coming stages.

Stage 5: Demi Vollering assumes leadership

During stage five, Demi Vollering asserted her dominance in the first of three summit finishes with a commanding performance that left a clear impression on her rivals. Vollering’s relentless attack in the final steep climb propelled her to victory, securing her first win of the 2024 season and the coveted red leader’s jersey. Against the backdrop of gruelling climbs and fierce competition, Vollering foreshadowed an electrifying battle for overall victory in the remaining stages of the tour.

Stage 6: Évita Muzic triumphs in a thrilling summit finish

In stage six of La Vuelta Femenina 2024, the journey culminated in a riveting summit showdown between Évita Muzic of FDJ–Suez and Demi Vollering. Spanning from Tarazona to a La Laguna Negra summit finish in Vinuesa, the stage encompassed 132 kilometres of gruelling terrain, featuring over 2,000 meters of elevation gain. Riders confronted relentless crosswinds, a characteristic challenge of the northern Spanish landscape during this season.

As the peloton navigated the demanding course, Muzic’s triumphant ascent underscored her resilience and tenacity amidst the unforgiving slopes, epitomising the unpredictable nature of mountain stages. Despite the fierce competition, Vollering maintained her stronghold on the red jersey.

Stage 7: Another masterful display from a cycling legend

Marianne Vos reaffirmed her status as the GOAT with a spectacular stage win, marking her second victory of the 2024 edition. Vos’s strategic brilliance and explosive sprinting ability propelled her to victory, solidifying her reputation as one of the most formidable cyclists in the peloton. Demi Vollering’s retention of the red leader’s jersey sent us to the thrilling conclusion of the tour.

Stage 8: Demi Vollering seizes victory in epic Stage 8 battle

The final leg of La Vuelta Femenina 2024 was a brief yet challenging 89.4-kilometre road stage featuring over 2000 metres of elevation gain, including two demanding category one climbs, concluding with a mountain top finish in Valdesquí, Comunidad de Madrid. Early in the race, a breakaway group comprising 13 riders gained a lead of up to 1:38 minutes, with Sarah Gigante of AG Insurance-Soudal initiating a significant move on the Puerto de La Morcuera, 40 kilometres from the end. Brodie Chapman of Lidl-Trek and polka-dot jersey holder Karlijn Swinkels from UAE Team ADQ managed to match Gigante’s pace initially, but both were eventually dropped as the race unfolded.

With 19 kilometres remaining, Swinkels made another aggressive move, building a lead of 1:10 minutes at the foot of the final climb. However, relentless pursuit from Brown saw Swinkels caught 9.2 kilometres from the finish. Vollering launched a decisive attack with 6.5 kilometres to go, securing both the stage and overall win. Meanwhile, a fierce battle ensued for the runner-up spot, with Markus claiming second overall by a slim 11-second margin over Longo Borghini. Vollering also clinched the polka-dot jersey, while Marianne Vos secured the green points jersey, and Niedermaier emerged as the top U23 rider, finishing 11th overall.

Itzulia Women is up next!

La Vuelta Femenina 2024 was indeed a captivating blend of excitement, drama, and sheer athleticism. From explosive sprints to gruelling mountain ascents, each stage showcased the impressive abilities of the women’s peloton. And luckily for us, we don’t have to wait very long for more action!

Following closely behind the inaugural Grand Tour of the year, the women’s peloton remains in Spain for another stage race, beginning on Friday. The third instalment of the Itzulia Women race spans three stages once again, traversing the famously undulating terrain of the Basque Country – covering a total distance of 356.6km and boasting a daunting elevation gain of 4,811m.

Last year, Marlen Reusser clinched the overall victory for Team SD Worx. This year, a demanding route with minimal opportunities for sprinters promises three days of thrilling and unpredictable racing. The general classification is likely to remain uncertain until the final stage.

So keep your weekend open — the race takes place from Friday, May 10th, to Sunday, May 12th.