Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta: Elisa Balsamo wins final stage as Annemiek Van Vleuten takes overall

World champion takes victory in final race in rainbow jersey.

Photo: Getty Images

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World champion Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) sprinted to victory on the final stage of the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta, proving the fastest after 17 laps of the Madrid circuit.

After a long lead-out from SD Worx, Lotte Kopecky took second, with Marta Bastianelli (UAE Team ADQ) rounding out the podium.

Red jersey Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) finished safely in the bunch to seal her second consecutive overall victory at the Ceratizit Challenge after winning the Queen stage by two minutes on Thursday.

A four-rider breakaway of Sara Poidevin (EF Educaction-TIBCO-SVB), Sandra Alonso (Ceratizit-WNT), Nina Buijsman (Human Powered Health) and Carlijn Achtereekte (Jumbo Visma) was away for the majority of the stage, but was brought back 10km from the finish.

“I’m extremely happy,” Balsamo said at the finish. “This was my last race with the [rainbow] jersey and so there is not a better way to end such a wonderful season for me. My teammates did a great job, they really were the strongest team and we were chasing the whole day. I really have to say thank you to everyone in the team.”

“We didn’t want to let the breakaway go more than one minute, so Shirin [van Anrooij] and Amalie [Diderisken] worked very hard the whole day and then Lucinda [Brand] and Elisa [Longo Borghini] did a great lead-out. It was the perfect day for us and I’m very happy.”

“We won the first stage in the TTT. Honestly it was amazing. It was my first TTT with the team, we really enjoyed it and today we won again, no better way to end the season.”

How it happened

The final stage of the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta this year returned to the course that started the event with a 96km circuit race around Madrid. The peloton raced 17 laps of a 5.8km circuit around the capital – a fast but technical loop that featured three hairpin bends, several long straights and then a slight rise to the line in the last kilometre. Traditionally the stage has been won by sprinters, with Jolien D’Hoore and Balsamo among those to have won in Madrid previously, but in the absence of top sprinter Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM), the race was perhaps opened up slightly on Sunday.

The likelihood of a bunch sprint didn’t stop the riders hoping for a breakaway, though, and the attacks started straight out of the neutral lap. The first rider to get a solid gap was Sara Poidevin (EF Educaction-TIBCO-SVB), who led the race by 11 seconds after the first lap. The Canadian was then joined by Sandra Alonso (Ceratizit-WNT), Nina Buijsman (Human Powered Health) and Carlijn Achtereekte (Jumbo Visma), and with the extra firepower, the leading quartet were able to build a lead of over a minute over the next few laps.

After six laps, the gap was starting to come down again as the peloton tightened their control on the race. Winners on stage 4 with Silvia Persico, Valcar Travel & Service was leading the bunch, hoping to set things up for either Chiara Consonni or Persico. At the halfway point of the stage, with 47km remaining, the leaders were only 40 seconds ahead of the bunch. Going into the final five laps, a crash in the peloton had slowed the chase slightly, meaning the leaders still had a 40 seconds advantage with 28km remaining.

In the peloton, red jersey wearer Van Vleuten was drifting slightly towards the back of the group, staying out of trouble on the kind of course that doesn’t suit her abilities. Van Vleuten’s choice of position was vindicated going into the final four laps when another crash in the feed zone saw several riders hit the ground, but the race leader managed to avoid any danger.

With three laps remaining, the breakaway started to attack each other as their lead fell below 15 seconds and Buijsman tried to escape her break companions. The peloton had the leaders in its sights on the straights by this point, but the four were pushing hard to try to hold onto their advantage. Buijsman and Alonso held on to be the last riders caught, but were absorbed by the peloton with 10km to go.

As the catch was made, Sara Martin (Movistar) and Niamh Fisher-Black (SD Worx) launched a counter-move, using a 400m rise in the middle of the lap to get a small gap on the peloton. Trek-Segafredo closed the move down in support of Balsamo, and their efforts really strung out the bunch with just 7km left to race. With 5km remaining, Georgia Williams (BikeExchange-Jayco) and Laura Asencio (Ceratizit-WNT) snuck off the front of the peloton in an attempt at a late escape, but again were brought back ahead of the expected bunch sprint.

In the final kilometers, Trek-Segafredo, Movistar and SD Worx were all lining up their lead-outs and it was Blanka Vas and Demi Vollering who led the bunch into the final kilometer. In the last 500m, Longo Borghini’s lead-out saw her briefly off the front as she rode away from the sprinters, but this meant Balsamo was able to launch off the wheel of Lotte Kopecky behind to come around her teammate and win the stage by several bike lengths. Kopecky held on for second, while Bastianelli finished fast to take third.

Van Vleuten finished safely in the bunch to secure overall victory in Madrid, her second win at the Ceratizit Challenge and her third consecutive GC win of the year after the Giro d’Italia Donne and the Tour de France Femmes. Longo Borghini’s efforts earlier in the week saw her finish second overall, while Vollering completed the podium in third. Stage 4 winner Persico will take home the green sprinter’s jersey, and Brand topped the mountains classification after her breakaway ride on stage 2.

The Women’s WorldTour season will conclude with the new Tour de Romandie on October 7-9.

Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta Stage 5 Results

1BALSAMO ElisaTrek - Segafredo2:21:37
2KOPECKY LotteTeam SD Worx0:00
4JASTRAB MeganTeam DSM0:00
6CONFALONIERI Maria GiuliaCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling0:00
7NEUMANOVA TerezaLiv Racing Xstra0:00
8MANLY AlexandraTeam BikeExchange - Jayco0:00
9NORMAN LETH JulieUno-X Pro Cycling Team0:00
10GUAZZINI VittoriaFDJ - SUEZ - Futuroscope0:00
11PERSICO SilviaValcar - Travel & Service0:00
12BORGHESI LetiziaEF Education-TIBCO-SVB0:00
13NORSGAARD EmmaMovistar Team0:00
14NELSON JosieTeam Coop - Hitec Products0:00
15LONGO BORGHINI ElisaTrek - Segafredo0:00
16KOSTER AnouskaTeam Jumbo-Visma0:00
17ROY SarahCanyon//SRAM Racing0:00
18MACKAIJ FloortjeTeam DSM0:00
19NIEWIADOMA KatarzynaCanyon//SRAM Racing0:00
20LE NET MarieFDJ - SUEZ - Futuroscope0:00
21VOLLERING DemiTeam SD Worx0:00
22SHACKLEY AnnaTeam SD Worx0:00
23CHAPMAN BrodieFDJ - SUEZ - Futuroscope0:00
24FISHER-BLACK NiamhTeam SD Worx0:00
25CHABBEY EliseCanyon//SRAM Racing0:00
26GARCÍA MaviUAE Team ADQ0:00
27LIPPERT LianeTeam DSM0:00
28LUDWIG Cecilie UttrupFDJ - SUEZ - Futuroscope0:00
29SOTO Catalina AnaisBizkaia Durango0:07
30CONSONNI ChiaraValcar - Travel & Service0:07
31LABOUS JulietteTeam DSM0:07
32ROSEMAN-GANNON RubyTeam BikeExchange - Jayco0:07
33YSLAND Anne DortheUno-X Pro Cycling Team0:07
34WRIGHT SophieUAE Team ADQ0:07
35RAAIJMAKERS MaritHuman Powered Health0:07
36NERLO AurelaMassi - Tactic Women Team0:07
37LOWDEN JoscelinUno-X Pro Cycling Team0:07
38GÅSKJENN IngvildTeam Coop - Hitec Products0:07
39SANTESTEBAN AneTeam BikeExchange - Jayco0:07
40DE JONG ThalitaLiv Racing Xstra0:07
41JASKULSKA MartaLiv Racing Xstra0:07
42LUTRO AmalieUno-X Pro Cycling Team0:07
43DEMEY ValerieLiv Racing Xstra0:07
44GONZÁLEZ LucíaBizkaia Durango0:07
45LARRARTE EukeneBizkaia Durango0:07
46EWERS VeronicaEF Education-TIBCO-SVB0:07
47YONAMINE EriHuman Powered Health0:07
48KRAAK AmberTeam Jumbo-Visma0:07
49TON QuintyLiv Racing Xstra0:07
50BERG EDSETH MarteUno-X Pro Cycling Team0:07
51LACH MartaCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling0:07
52VAN VLEUTEN AnnemiekMovistar Team0:07
53RIEDMANN LindaTeam Jumbo-Visma0:07
54WILLIAMS GeorgiaTeam BikeExchange - Jayco0:07
55TOMASI LauraUAE Team ADQ0:07
56BLANCO IuraniLaboral Kutxa Fundación Euskadi0:07
57SIERRA ArlenisMovistar Team0:07
58MUZIC ÉvitaFDJ - SUEZ - Futuroscope0:07
59PIERGIOVANNI Federica DamianaValcar - Travel & Service0:07
60LUDWIG HannahUno-X Pro Cycling Team0:07
61STEPHENS LaurenEF Education-TIBCO-SVB0:07
62BARALE FrancescaTeam DSM0:15
63KUMIEGA KarolinaValcar - Travel & Service0:16
64BRAND LucindaTrek - Segafredo0:16
65SCHWEIKART AileenBizkaia Durango0:16
66BUIJSMAN NinaHuman Powered Health0:16
67STEIGENGA NicoleTeam Coop - Hitec Products0:16
68MALCOTTI BarbaraHuman Powered Health0:16
69BOOGAARD MaaikeUAE Team ADQ0:16
70CAMPOS DanielaBizkaia Durango0:16
71KIESENHOFER AnnaSoltec Team0:22
72TRAXLER Anna GabrielleRoland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad0:23
73ANDERSSON CarolineTeam Coop - Hitec Products0:28
74MARTÍN SaraMovistar Team0:28
75OSTOLAZA UsoaLaboral Kutxa Fundación Euskadi0:28
76MENDEZ IreneBizkaia Durango0:28
77VAN ANROOIJ ShirinTrek - Segafredo0:28
78ERASO IdoiaLaboral Kutxa Fundación Euskadi0:28
79SHAPIRA OmerEF Education-TIBCO-SVB0:28
80PEREZ SusanaRio Miera - Cantabria Deporte0:28
81BARIL OliviaValcar - Travel & Service0:28
82STANNARD ElizabethValcar - Travel & Service0:28
83RAMIREZ AndreaMassi - Tactic Women Team0:28
84ALONSO SandraCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling0:28
85NUÑEZ Miryam MaritzaMassi - Tactic Women Team0:28
86STULTIENS SabrinaLiv Racing Xstra0:28
87ROOIJAKKERS PaulienaCanyon//SRAM Racing0:28
88KUIJPERS EvyHuman Powered Health0:28
89VAS BlankaTeam SD Worx0:28
90ACHTEREEKTE CarlijnTeam Jumbo-Visma0:28
91ASENCIO LauraCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling0:28
92REUSSER MarlenTeam SD Worx0:59
93CAMPBELL TenielTeam BikeExchange - Jayco0:59
94BIANNIC AudeMovistar Team1:03
95AALERUD KatrineMovistar Team1:03
96POIDEVIN SaraEF Education-TIBCO-SVB2:11
97GUTIERREZ SandraLaboral Kutxa Fundación Euskadi4:51
98NILSSON HannaCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling6:50
99TEUTENBERG Lea LinCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling6:50
100DIDERIKSEN AmalieTrek - Segafredo7:20
101HARVEY MikaylaCanyon//SRAM Racing9:01
102MUREȘAN ManuelaSoltec Team9:01
103ALZATE AndreaSoltec Team13:44
104BUCH HannahRoland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad13:44
105CANTERA InesRoland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad13:44
106CALVO TaniaLaboral Kutxa Fundación Euskadi13:44
1VAN VLEUTEN AnnemiekMovistar Team 12:21:46
2LONGO BORGHINI ElisaTrek - Segafredo1:44
3VOLLERING DemiTeam SD Worx2:11
4LIPPERT LianeTeam DSM2:34
5LUDWIG Cecilie UttrupFDJ - SUEZ - Futuroscope2:43
6SANTESTEBAN AneTeam BikeExchange - Jayco3:03
7SHACKLEY AnnaTeam SD Worx3:07
8CHABBEY EliseCanyon//SRAM Racing3:29
9LABOUS JulietteTeam DSM3:35
10NIEWIADOMA KatarzynaCanyon//SRAM Racing3:38
11CHAPMAN BrodieFDJ - SUEZ - Futuroscope3:47
12PERSICO SilviaValcar - Travel & Service3:50
13GARCÍA MaviUAE Team ADQ4:09
14EWERS VeronicaEF Education-TIBCO-SVB4:48
15MANLY AlexandraTeam BikeExchange - Jayco4:51
16SIERRA ArlenisMovistar Team5:21
17KRAAK AmberTeam Jumbo-Visma6:08
18FISHER-BLACK NiamhTeam SD Worx6:45
19YONAMINE EriHuman Powered Health7:37
20KIESENHOFER AnnaSoltec Team8:12
21KOPECKY LotteTeam SD Worx8:41
22KOSTER AnouskaTeam Jumbo-Visma10:30
23MACKAIJ FloortjeTeam DSM11:01
25ROOIJAKKERS PaulienaCanyon//SRAM Racing11:21
26VAN ANROOIJ ShirinTrek - Segafredo11:37
27LOWDEN JoscelinUno-X Pro Cycling Team11:47
28VAS BlankaTeam SD Worx12:07
29REUSSER MarlenTeam SD Worx12:31
30BALSAMO ElisaTrek - Segafredo15:52
31WILLIAMS GeorgiaTeam BikeExchange - Jayco16:04
32WRIGHT SophieUAE Team ADQ16:23
33MARTÍN SaraMovistar Team16:44
34STANNARD ElizabethValcar - Travel & Service17:01
35NELSON JosieTeam Coop - Hitec Products17:22
36GÅSKJENN IngvildTeam Coop - Hitec Products17:38
37ASENCIO LauraCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling17:48
38MALCOTTI BarbaraHuman Powered Health18:25
39CONFALONIERI Maria GiuliaCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling18:26
40GUAZZINI VittoriaFDJ - SUEZ - Futuroscope18:31
41BARALE FrancescaTeam DSM19:29
42AALERUD KatrineMovistar Team20:08
43MUZIC ÉvitaFDJ - SUEZ - Futuroscope22:08
44ROSEMAN-GANNON RubyTeam BikeExchange - Jayco22:33
45ALONSO SandraCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling22:52
46BORGHESI LetiziaEF Education-TIBCO-SVB22:53
47LACH MartaCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling23:48
49PIERGIOVANNI Federica DamianaValcar - Travel & Service23:59
50TOMASI LauraUAE Team ADQ24:01
51ROY SarahCanyon//SRAM Racing24:11
52STEPHENS LaurenEF Education-TIBCO-SVB24:26
53SHAPIRA OmerEF Education-TIBCO-SVB24:45
54BUIJSMAN NinaHuman Powered Health24:46
55TON QuintyLiv Racing Xstra25:03
56RAAIJMAKERS MaritHuman Powered Health25:38
57BRAND LucindaTrek - Segafredo25:52
58LUDWIG HannahUno-X Pro Cycling Team26:41
59NEUMANOVA TerezaLiv Racing Xstra26:47
60NUÑEZ Miryam MaritzaMassi - Tactic Women Team27:25
61YSLAND Anne DortheUno-X Pro Cycling Team28:18
62DEMEY ValerieLiv Racing Xstra28:37
63ACHTEREEKTE CarlijnTeam Jumbo-Visma29:39
64LE NET MarieFDJ - SUEZ - Futuroscope29:46
65BOOGAARD MaaikeUAE Team ADQ31:01
66BARIL OliviaValcar - Travel & Service31:59
67MENDEZ IreneBizkaia Durango33:26
68JASKULSKA MartaLiv Racing Xstra33:59
69SCHWEIKART AileenBizkaia Durango34:06
70BERG EDSETH MarteUno-X Pro Cycling Team34:20
71STULTIENS SabrinaLiv Racing Xstra34:20
72DE JONG ThalitaLiv Racing Xstra34:25
73NORMAN LETH JulieUno-X Pro Cycling Team35:02
74STEIGENGA NicoleTeam Coop - Hitec Products35:07
75KUMIEGA KarolinaValcar - Travel & Service35:09
76ANDERSSON CarolineTeam Coop - Hitec Products36:03
77BIANNIC AudeMovistar Team36:53
78RIEDMANN LindaTeam Jumbo-Visma37:12
79OSTOLAZA UsoaLaboral Kutxa Fundación Euskadi38:44
80ERASO IdoiaLaboral Kutxa Fundación Euskadi38:48
81RAMIREZ AndreaMassi - Tactic Women Team38:58
82HARVEY MikaylaCanyon//SRAM Racing40:15
83NERLO AurelaMassi - Tactic Women Team40:46
84GONZÁLEZ LucíaBizkaia Durango41:24
85CONSONNI ChiaraValcar - Travel & Service42:27
86NILSSON HannaCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling42:33
87SOTO Catalina AnaisBizkaia Durango43:26
88NORSGAARD EmmaMovistar Team43:33
89CANTERA InesRoland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad43:39
90POIDEVIN SaraEF Education-TIBCO-SVB43:45
91TEUTENBERG Lea LinCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling44:21
92CAMPBELL TenielTeam BikeExchange - Jayco45:45
93JASTRAB MeganTeam DSM46:29
94DIDERIKSEN AmalieTrek - Segafredo47:12
95BLANCO IuraniLaboral Kutxa Fundación Euskadi48:37
96LARRARTE EukeneBizkaia Durango49:37
97PEREZ SusanaRio Miera - Cantabria Deporte50:18
98LUTRO AmalieUno-X Pro Cycling Team56:57
99CAMPOS DanielaBizkaia Durango59:10
100KUIJPERS EvyHuman Powered Health59:27
101MUREȘAN ManuelaSoltec Team1:05:14
102BUCH HannahRoland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad1:07:58
103TRAXLER Anna GabrielleRoland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad1:08:43
104GUTIERREZ SandraLaboral Kutxa Fundación Euskadi1:10:36
105ALZATE AndreaSoltec Team1:21:26
106CALVO TaniaLaboral Kutxa Fundación Euskadi1:30:21
1PERSICO SilviaValcar - Travel & Service48
2KOPECKY LotteTeam SD Worx48
3LONGO BORGHINI ElisaTrek - Segafredo44
4BALSAMO ElisaTrek - Segafredo41
5VAN VLEUTEN AnnemiekMovistar Team41
6VOLLERING DemiTeam SD Worx34
7LIPPERT LianeTeam DSM33
8CHABBEY EliseCanyon//SRAM Racing32
9NIEWIADOMA KatarzynaCanyon//SRAM Racing25
10LUDWIG Cecilie UttrupFDJ - SUEZ - Futuroscope23
11MANLY AlexandraTeam BikeExchange - Jayco19
13JASTRAB MeganTeam DSM14
14SIERRA ArlenisMovistar Team12
17CONFALONIERI Maria GiuliaCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling10
18LABOUS JulietteTeam DSM10
19NEUMANOVA TerezaLiv Racing Xstra9
20BORGHESI LetiziaEF Education-TIBCO-SVB9
21KOSTER AnouskaTeam Jumbo-Visma8
22NORMAN LETH JulieUno-X Pro Cycling Team7
23EWERS VeronicaEF Education-TIBCO-SVB7
24GUAZZINI VittoriaFDJ - SUEZ - Futuroscope6
25SHACKLEY AnnaTeam SD Worx6
26SANTESTEBAN AneTeam BikeExchange - Jayco6
27KRAAK AmberTeam Jumbo-Visma4
28NORSGAARD EmmaMovistar Team3
29CHAPMAN BrodieFDJ - SUEZ - Futuroscope2
30NELSON JosieTeam Coop - Hitec Products2
31KIESENHOFER AnnaSoltec Team1
1BRAND LucindaTrek - Segafredo44
2VAN VLEUTEN AnnemiekMovistar Team32
3ROY SarahCanyon//SRAM Racing22
4LIPPERT LianeTeam DSM20
5NIEWIADOMA KatarzynaCanyon//SRAM Racing16
6LONGO BORGHINI ElisaTrek - Segafredo16
7VOLLERING DemiTeam SD Worx15
8SIERRA ArlenisMovistar Team9
9CHABBEY EliseCanyon//SRAM Racing7
10NORSGAARD EmmaMovistar Team6
11KOSTER AnouskaTeam Jumbo-Visma4
12KIESENHOFER AnnaSoltec Team3
14CHAPMAN BrodieFDJ - SUEZ - Futuroscope2
15PERSICO SilviaValcar - Travel & Service2
16CAMPBELL TenielTeam BikeExchange - Jayco2
17VAS BlankaTeam SD Worx1
1Team SD Worx 36:27:46
2FDJ - SUEZ - Futuroscope5:45
3Team DSM6:09
4Canyon//SRAM Racing6:38
5Team BikeExchange - Jayco9:28
6Movistar Team10:29
7Trek - Segafredo18:49
8UAE Team ADQ19:12
9Team Jumbo-Visma31:48
10Valcar - Travel & Service32:05
11Human Powered Health36:41
12EF Education-TIBCO-SVB38:41
13Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling46:28
14Uno-X Pro Cycling Team51:12
15Team Coop - Hitec Products54:39
16Liv Racing Xstra1:00:20
17Massi - Tactic Women Team1:25:43
18Bizkaia Durango1:30:18
19Laboral Kutxa Fundación Euskadi1:42:34
20Soltec Team2:17:36
21Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad2:32:20

Results provided by ProCyclingStats.

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