Home Madrid education Annemiek van Vleuten seals victory at La Madrid Challenge as Elisa Balsamo wins final stage

Annemiek van Vleuten seals victory at La Madrid Challenge as Elisa Balsamo wins final stage

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Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) won the La Madrid Challenge 2022 to add to victories at the Giro Donne and Tour de France Women earlier in the year.

Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) won the last stage after being led by Elisa Longo-Borghini. Lotte Kopecky (Team SD Worx) second and Marta Bastianelli (UAE Team ADQ), third, made it onto the day’s podium.

The final stage of five was a simple 96km, 17-lap criterium around the center of the Spanish capital. With no mountain points offered to prevent Lucinda Brand (Trek-Segafredo) retaining the polka-dot jersey and nearly-sewn winner’s red jersey, stage victory and points competition was all there was to it. had to play.

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However, Trek-Segafredo was determined to play for good. The American team dominated most of the stage. Although they allowed a group of four riders to spend a few hours in the sun, Carlijn Achtereekte (Jumbo Visma), Sara Poidevin (EF Education-Tibco SVB), Sandra Alonso (Ceratizit-WNT) and Nina Buijsman (Human Powered Health ) were never going to have much wiggle room. A cover was placed firmly over the gap when it reached one minute and remained stable for the next 60 km.

The four intermediate sprints only offered bonus seconds, without much interest or usefulness for the breakaways, all far from the general classification.

Between kilometers 60 and 80, the time between the groups began to drop rapidly, as Shirin Van Anrooij and Amalie Dideriksen shared the work to ensure the result of the peloton sprint for their teammate Trek-Segafredo. Movistar and SD Worx also had short spells on the front lines.

With 17km to go, the peloton were charging towards the leaders on the straight, but were keen not to invite late opportunistic attacks by sweeping them away too early. Alonso and Buijsman lit their final matches with 10km to go, before being absorbed into the peloton, and final preparations were made for the fast, flat finish.

In the final kilometers, BikeExchange-Jayco, FDJ and Valcar Travel & Service were all very visible at the front of the race, deterring any further movement.

Under the red flame and it was Movistar up front, but Trek-Segafredo in control. Elisa Longo-Borghini launched herself into the home straight, ultimately serving less of a starter and more of a foil for Elisa Balsamo. As the other riders were forced to chase ELB, Balsamo had a clear run down the right side of the road and took a convincing win by multiple bike lengths.

“I’m extremely happy,” Balsamo said.

“It was my last race with the [world champion’s] shirt and so there is no better way to end such a great season for me. My teammates did a great job today. We really were the strongest team and raced all day. I have to thank everyone in the team. »

Van Vleuten had an unassailable lead heading into the final stage and after completing this stage without incident or accident, finished 1’44” ahead of Longo-Borghini in second, with Demi Vollering (Team SD Worx) 2’18 behind ” third.

Silvia Persico (Valcar Travel & Service) finished 11th in the stage, four places ahead of Elisa Longo-Borghini, enough for the young rider to gain five points in the sprint and take the jersey.

TOP 5 OF THE STAGE

1. Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) 2’21’37

2. Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) ”

3. Marta Bastianelli (UAE ADQ team) ”

4. Megan Jastrab (DSM Team) ”

5. Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE ADQ team) ”

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