- Marlen Reusser surprises and wins the Itzulia Women 2023.
- Demi Vollering and Katarzyna NIEWIADOMA complete the podium.
Last stage of the Itzulia Women 2023 where Demi Vollering started as the favourite with an advantage of 56 seconds over second place. 114.8 km ahead, 3 mountain passes with the climb to Mendizorrotz via Murgil will decide who wins the second Itzulia Women in history.
Very early on, a large breakaway formed comprised of 10 riders and another chasing group of 5 riders. At the head of the race were Blanka Vas (SDW, 3), Elizabeth Stannard (CGS, 13), Pauliena Rooijakkers (CSR, 25), Loes Adegeest (FST, 31), Marie Le Net (FST, 34), Sheyla Gutierrez (MOV, 52), Veronica Ewers (TIB, 61), Kathrin Hammes (TIB, 62), Ella Wyllie (DRP, 116) and Usoa Ostolaza Zabala (LKF, 143). In the chasing group Eleonora Camilla Gasparrini (UAD, 74), Irene Mendez Melgarejo (BDU, 81), Silvia Zanardi (BPK, 91), Babette Van Der Wolf (DRP, 114) and Sigrid Ytterhus Haugset (HPU, 133). The leaders achieved a distance of 1 minute 50 seconds and a margin of 1 minute over the chasing group.
After the descent from Jaizkibel, the peloton, with very few riders after the climb, caught up with the two leading groups to form a group of 19 riders. The peloton was more than two minutes behind the leading group.
The first group kept up the pace and marched steadily towards the last climb of the day, Mendizorrotz, where the Murgil wall awaited. At the foot of the pass, the race leader herself took the lead despite having companions in the group. Demi Vollering set the pace and several riders gradually fell behind. She still topped the ranking. With two kilometres to go before the world champion was crowned, Anemiek Van Vleuten (MOV, 51) attacked with an up-tempo climb that left her alone with Demi Vollering. The great duel was on. The two riders crossed Murgil alone, opening a slight gap of 28 seconds over the other riders.
The Movistar Women’s Team leader launched herself down and managed to open a gap with the yellow jersey. On the final metres of the descent, Vollering caught Van Vleuten again and they started the last 20 kilometres of the race with a 25-second lead. Only the Movistar rider was pulling, as Vollering had her teammate Marlen Reusser (SDW, 3) in the chasing group and was second overall.
With only 13 kilometres to go the chasing group formed by Marlen Reusser (SDW, 3), Katarzyna Niewiadoma (CSR, 23), and Olivia Baril (UAD, 71) caught the lead group and the 5 riders started to attack. Marlen Reusser (SDW, 3) managed to open a gap during one such attack. A gap that proved to be so large that she managed to win the stage and the overall race, the Itzulia Women 2023. Behind them, the rest of the podium places were decided in a sprint, in which Demi Vollering was the fastest. Marlen Reusser wins the txapela, the third stage and Team SD Worx provides a lesson in teamwork.
The podium was completed by Demi Vollering and Katarzyna NIEWIADOMA.
Standings after Stage 3
Stage winner: Marlen Reusser (SDW, 3)
Overall individual ranking: Marlen Reusser (SDW, 3)
Mountain classification: Demi Vollering (SDW, 1)
Overall points classification: Marlen Reusser (SDW, 1)
Overall ranking best young rider: Ella Wyllie (DRP, 116)
Overall team classification: Team SD Worx
Overall ranking best Basque rider: Usoa Ostolaza (LKF, 143)
Most combative: Claire Steels (CGS, 11)