• The expanded format, over four days (from September 2 to 5), seduced the world stars of the women’s peloton.
• Annemiek van Vleuten, Anna van der Breggen and Elisa Longo Borghini are among the big names at the start of the Cabeza de la Manzaneda mountain resort.
• Mavi Garcia and the best Spaniards are also expected in Galicia.
The 7th edition of the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta 21 promises to be spectacular, from September 2 to 5, from the Cabeza de la Manzaneda mountain resort to Santiago de Compostela. The most famous stage race on the Spanish calendar, which this year offers a complete program in Galicia, with two medium mountain stages, an uphill time trial and a flat stage, has won over the world stars of the peloton. female, according to the list of entries. 24 teams sent their list of participants, for a total of 143 competitors expected at the start.
Three very big names stand out, those of the top three riders in the UCI world ranking: Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar Team Women), Anna van der Breggen (Team SD Worx) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo). The first one is the European road champion and current leader of the UCI Women’s WorldTour and she has just won, in the wake of her Olympic time trial title, the Donostia San Sebastian Klasikoa Women and the Ladies Tour of Norway. Van der Breggen is the reigning World champion, approaching the end of her career scheduled at the end of the current season, and Longo Borghini is the Italian national champion, bronze medalist in the road race at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The two-time defending champion Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team) will try to make it three in a row even if the route, this year, presents characteristics different from the editions concluded in the streets of Madrid. Three other members of the world top 10 (7/10 in total) are announced: Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope), Lotte Kopecky (Liv Racing), Katarzyna Niewadoma (Canyon // SRAM). The future will also be written on the roads of Galicia since the best two youngsters of the UCI Women’s WorldTour are lined up: the New Zealander Niamh Fisher-Black (SD Worx), who dominated the best young rider standings of three stage races this year (Vuelta a Burgos Féminas, Giro d’Italia and Ladies Tour of Norway), and the French Elite champion Evita Muzic (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope).
Competitors from very diverse backgrounds will attend the race with Japan’s Eri Yonamine (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank), Australia’s Amanda Spratt at the head of a strong Team BikeExchange, Hungary’s Kata Blanka Vas (SD Worx), the USA’s Coryn Rivera (DSM), Mexico’s Katia Martínez (Eneicat-RBH Global-Martin Villa), Colombia’s Paula Patiño (Movistar Team Women), Cyprus’ Antri Christoforou (Women Cycling Sport)…
The CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta 21 is also a source of great motivation for Spanish cyclists, led by the national champion (road and time trial) Mavi Garcia (Alé BTC Ljubljana). Ane Santesteban (Team BikeExchange), Sheyla Gutiérrez and Lourdes Oyarbide (Movistar Team Women) may have to work in the service of their leaders. The event represents a great opportunity to shine for other teams in the country that are invited to participate: Massi-Tactic Women Team, Eneicat-RBH Global-Martin Villa, Women Cycling Sport, Rio Miera-Cantabria Deporte, Laboral Kutxa-Fundacion Ciclista Euskadi and Team Farto-BTC.
More information about the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta : www.challengebylavuelta.com
An impressive cast of contenders have arrived in Galicia ahead of four days of action (September 2-5) en route to Santiago de Compostela. Among them, the World Champion Anna van der Breggen (3rd in the UCI World ranking) will participate for the first time in the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta in what may be her last appearance with the rainbow jersey before she defends her titles in Belgium. Other riders from the top positions of the UCI World raking are in Galicia: Annemiek van Vleuten (1st), Elisa Longo Borghini (2nd), Lisa Brennauer (7th, winner of the last two editions in Madrid), Marlen Reusser (10th), Katarzyna Niewiadoma (11th)…
As La Vuelta also heads to Galicia, the stars of the UCI Women’s WorldTour will battle in a much different environment than the usual settings of the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta, around Madrid and in the streets of the Spanish capital. The first three stages are centred around the mountain resort of Manzaneda, with 2 hilly stages (1 and 3) and an uphill time-trial on day 2 (7.3km with an average gradient of 5.8%). The final stage, on Sunday, heads to Santiago de Compostela on flatter terrain (107.4km). The overall winner will be crowned on the Praza do Obradoiro, in front of the cathedral.
Over 340 km, the race will enjoy the support of ŠKODA, who display once again their support for cycling and for equality in sport. They will provide 15 cars to the organisation, including two electric SUVs ENYAQ iV and the hybrid versions of OCTAVIA and SUPERB.
TIFFANY CROMWELL: “THE AMBITION IS ALWAYS TO WIN”
Fresh from her come-back in the UCI Women’s WorldTour at the GP Plouay in France on Monday, Tiffany Cromwell, a true world’s traveller who recently took part in the Belgian Waffle Ride in North Carolina (USA) after representing Australia at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, heads to Spain for a first taste of the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta with her team Canyon SRAM Racing led by Poland’s Katarzyna (“Kasia”) Niewadoma who is currently 11th on the UCI world ranking.
How many countries have you visited this year?
I’ve lost the counting but it’s close to 20! It’s been a great year so far with lots of wonderful experiences and sporting satisfactions. My last time to Spain was in mid-May for the Gran Premio Ciudad de Eibar and I’m looking forward to returning for the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta. It will be my first participation because in previous years, my team didn’t enter due to a busy program until last year but I wasn’t on the line up. I’m excited to discover Galicia. The closest I’ve been to was Ponferrada for the world championships in 2014.
What do you expect from the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta?
It should be great! It’s a different parcours from what it was like in the region of Madrid. It’s mountainous, maybe not the perfect terrain for me but it’s a nice program and an excellent build-up for the world championships.
What are your team’s ambitions?
The ambition is always to win. We have a good team. The competition will be of a very high level but we want to do well, whether it’s the final podium or a stage win. Kasia is a great rider. She loves to race hard and aggressive. As a team-mate, she’s awesome. She’s full of energy and very talented. She was second at the Flèche wallonne féminine this year. The terrain of the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta should suit her well.
What about yourself?
For this race, I’ll have a support role as I probably don’t have enough strength for these climbs. I’m having my best season in many years, I was stronger when I was younger and I’ve had some ups and downs in the last few years but I’ve had some good racing in the classics and going to the Olympics this year has been great. However, I always want more. I might try and get a result in the last stage of the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta since we don’t really have a sprinter in the team. In any case, I’ll be there for the team and I hope for a great four days of racing in Galicia.