Demi Vollering lost her lead of the Vuelta Femenina last afternoon, victim of an ill-timed attack from Movistar and Jumbo-Visma. Whilst several riders stopped for a pee break the pace went up, and Annemiek van Vleuten ended up jumping into the race lead after an all-out attack.
"A baleful day. It is very disappointing that it has to happen this way, but we are keen to put things right tomorrow," Vollering said in a post-race interview Early in the day her and some teammate stopped for a pee break, coincidentally where the Spanish team had anticipated to attack. "We really had a big gap. The entire team had to ride empty until the foot of the first climb to bring me back as close as possible. There I went full on myself. It became a real catch-up race. When I got back into the 'first' group, there was already a leading group ahead."
Annemiek van Vleuten turns Vuelta Femenina on it's head: "We went full throttle. It was a real team effort"
"Right after our riders pulled over for a pee break, with a few more riders from other teams, Movistar, Jumbo Visma and Trek-Segafredo went into full ride," DS Anna van der Breggen explains. "While the wind was not even really on the side. It was rather more of a headwind at that point. Because the level difference in the Vuelta Femenina is quite big, a small group with about five riders was dropped. At that, the jury immediately decided that another barrage had to be made and the cars had to get out of the way. Then it becomes difficult to get back after a pee break."
The difference of over a minute was created and never again shut down. A strong ride from the Team SD Worx rider still saw her joining the chasing group - which until van Vleuten had attacked was the head of the race - but at that point the win, and her race lead, were gone. Vollering ended up working together with some other riders to close down the gap ever so slightly in the run-up to the finish, however lost over a minute on the road to van Vleuten.
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The World Champion is looking in form and in today's summit finish to Lagos de Covadonga it will be hard to take back time on her. Vollering still departs as the main rival but the 1:11 minutes separating the two will make it complicated to succeed in the mission.
"My legs were very good today. Hopefully that will still be the case tomorrow. I am hungry for revenge. I hope to put things right tomorrow (today, ed.)," she concluded.