Vuelta Femenina ticker: SD Worx names mixture of youth and experience to back Vollering, Longo Borghini out with bug

Follow all the headlines from La Vuelta Femenina, which starts May 1.

Photo: Luc Claessen/Getty Images

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SD Worx backs Demi Vollering with youth and experience mix

Demi Vollering will have the support of a mixture of experienced riders as well as up-and-coming talent at La Vuelta Femenina next week.

SD Worx unveiled its seven-rider roster for the Spanish stage race Saturday with Vollering spearheading its GC ambitions.

Joining the Dutchwoman on the road will be Marlen Reusser, U23 world champion Niamh Fisher-Black, Elena Cecchini, Marie Schreiber, Femke Markus, and Blanka Vas.

“In such a multi-day race, it is mainly about who recovers the best,” sport director Anna van der Breggen said. “I hope in the meantime that we can continue our form from the spring. We have several goals. Marie Schreiber is riding her first race with the team.

“For her, Blanka Vas and Femke Markus it will be a matter of gaining experience and seeing if they can be a help to Demi Vollering, Marlen Reusser, and Elena Cecchini. Those riders carry the pressure and with them we want to get results in the stages. Niamh Fisher-Black can try to have a go at stage wins in their shadow. With Demi Vollering, of course, we are then also aiming for the overall win.”

Elisa Longo Borghini out with stomach bug

Trek-Segafredo loses a key figure with Elisa Longo Borghini, who pulled out of the Vuelta with a stomach bug.

“Good luck to my teammates for the Vuelta,” she wrote on social media. “Unfortunately an aggressive stomach bug really knocked me out in these days and with great regret I had to give up. I’ll keep you posted on my next races.”

Trek-Segafredo will miss the Liège runner-up, but the team brings a strong squad to the Spanish stage race.

Other starters include Lizzie Deignan, Elynor Bäckstedt, Gaia Realini, and Amanda Spratt.

Movistar confirms team to back Annemiek van Vleuten

Annemiek van Vleuten won the 2022 Challenge by la Vuelta
Annemiek van Vleuten won the 2022 Challenge by la Vuelta (Photo: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Annemiek van Vleuten will head up Movistar’s GC ambitions at next week’s Vuelta Femenina, a race she has won twice in the last two seasons.Van Vleuten hasn’t been her usual dominant self so far this spring, but she remains a major favorite for the new-look seven-day race, which is set to begin May 1.

“My year has so far been a bit disappointing,” Van Vleuten said. “It has not been my best season as I have had some bad luck with flat tires, crashes, but I enjoy racing with my heart even if I cannot race how I wanted.

“I could feel in La Flèche Wallonne that my body is growing into shape. I had a good race and was able to put a good attack. I take confidence from that, and I won’t look back to what happened before.”

The team will also have another GC option in German champion Liane Lippert, who has been one of its best performers so far this season. Also on the seven-rider roster is Emma Norsgaard, who returns to the peloton after crashing out of Strade Bianche at the start of March.

Lourdes Oyarbide, Floortje Mackaij, Aude Biannic, and Paula Patiño complete the roster for Movistar.

Vuelta Femenina to be braodcast in 54 countries

The organizer of the Vuelta Femenina has announced a new deal with Eurovision Sport that will see the race broadcast across 54 countries.

It means that the event will be available on several free-to-air channels across Europe, including in Spain, as well as on Eurosport and GCN+.

“We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with the EBU and its Members. This is a big step forward to enlarge women’s cycling all across Europe and to show the great event that we’re creating. This edition of La Vuelta Femenina will be historic and we’re glad to have EBU’s support.”

23 teams to start Vuelta Femenina

Just 23 teams will start the Vuelta Femenina, instead of the maximum of 24, after Spanish Continental team Zaaf pulled out of the race.

Zaaf declined its wildcard invitation amidst a controversy around its failure to pay its riders. Since the start of April, more than half the squad has quit and the team has just seven riders remaining, which is below the minimum level required by the UCI.

Due to the lateness of the decision, the race organizer has not been able to replace the team in the race, meaning the peloton will be seven riders smaller on the startline in Torrevieja on Monday.

Charlotte Kool and Juliette Labous headline Team DSM roster

Sprinter Charlotte Kool and climber Juliette Labous will headline the Team DSM roster at next week’s Vuelta Femenina as the team takes a two-pronged approach to the race.

DSM is also taking Francesca Barale, Léa Curinier, Esmée Peperkamp, Maeve Plouffe, and Elise Uijen.

“La Vuelta Femenina marks the first big stage race of the year for our Women’s program after a successful first part of the season. The race has an interesting parcours with really different stages,” sport director Albert Timmer said.

“Our goal will be to focus on the general classification with Juliette, who had some great performances last year. In the sprints, Charlotte will be our finisher and we hope to bring her into the sprints fresh and as well-positioned as possible. We have a strong team, and we are confident that we can bring home some great results,”

Kristen Faulkner, Ane Santesteban lead Jayco-AlUla GC hopes

Jayco-AlUla is going to the Vuelta Femenina with two leaders in U.S. rider Kristen Faulkner and Ane Santesteban. Both riders will be protected as the squad looks to secure a strong GC result.

Urška Žigart will be a key lieutenant in the mountains for Faulkner and Santesteban, while Nina Kessler, Georgie Howe, and Amber Pate will look toward the fast stages. Ingvild Gaskjenn rounds out the seven-rider roster.

“We can see in the last years that the women’s calendar has grown a lot, with new races and longer stage races added, and it is really good to see La Vuelta do it too. They keep working and growing as a race and that for me means a lot, because it shows that more people believe in us, and keep fighting for us women,” Santesteban said.

“Kristen and I are both feeling strong for the mountain stages and we also know how strong Urška is in big mountains, so we are more than ready to go for it. I think we have to see how the TTT goes and after that make a plan, but we will looking for a good overall classification.”

An American in France

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