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Demi Vollering (SD Worx) took her first Women’s WorldTour win of the season on the first day of three at the inaugural Itzulia Women.
Vollering’s SD Worx team brought just four riders to the race in northern Spain, with Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, Niamh Fisher Black, and Anna Shackley joining the 25-year-old. Vollering and Moolman Pasio both got themselves into an early breakaway alongside Elise Chabbey of Canyon//SRAM and Lucinda Brand of Trek Segafredo.
The move was reeled in with 18km to go but not before Vollering picked up valuable bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint. Team DSM, who had been working hard to chase down the move, then also lost out on the next break as Kirsten Faulkner of Team BikeExchange launched an attack.
It was Vollering once again who followed with Canyon//SRAM’s Pauliena Rooijakkers on her wheel and the three joined together, eventually getting a 40 second gap. FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope and Team DSM were seen chasing the move down but with the trio maintaining a lead of around 40 seconds with 2km to go it was clear that they would be fighting for the win between them.
On the steep rise to the line, Rooijakkers attacked, knowing that her best chance for the win was to make a move on the climb rather than try to out-sprint the fast-finishing Vollering. Faulkner was dropped in the process but Vollering emerged the victor after passing Rooijakkers in the final few metres to take the stage and the GC lead.
“It was a really hard one,” Vollering said after the stage. “After the downhill we went away with a little group with my teammate Ashleigh in it and Lucinda and Elise Chabbey. It was a really nice break but we couldn’t make it into the final so I thought okay now I need to try and recover and find a good moment to attack again and I found a good moment and then Pauliena came with me and that was really nice because she’s a really nice person to have in the break, she’s always riding with you so that was a really nice break with her.
I expected Pauliena to make it a long sprint, she went already before the corner but I tried to keep my head cool and try to get over her again and I made it. It’s a really nice finish, I like it, it was good for me.”
Vollering now leads Rooijakkers by 6 seconds and Faulkner by 10 seconds with the rest of the peloton sitting around 50 seconds back going into stage two.
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