12.05.2023 World-Tour, News, Race news
KASIA NIEWIADOMA TAKES THIRD AT ITZULIA OPENING STAGE
Kasia Niewiadoma continued CANYON//SRAM Racing’s run of World Tour podiums when she claimed third on the opening stage of Itzulia Women. Teammate Soraya Paladin made an impressive return to racing after the spring classics, finishing in 8th.
It all came down to the final climb and descent into Etxebarria as the peloton caught the breakaway with less than 15km remaining on the stage.
Kasia said, “Today’s stage was very hectic due to the bad weather. At many points of the race, you needed to be prepared that something could happen that would change the whole race scenario. Having a breakaway without any favourites in it make it all the way to the finish line didn’t seem promising as the last climb clearly was where the victory would come from.”
As the final breakaway riders were caught, the peloton was strung out for the intermediate sprint, which came directly at the bottom of the final climb. The leaders quickly formed a gap on the bottom slopes of the Urkaregi climb. Kasia was the only rider that could go with Demi Vollering (SDW) initially, though later could not sustain the pace and formed a group of four chasers. A few seconds behind, another chase group that included teammate Soraya Paladin.
“I didn’t feel comfortable descending as my upper body was still frozen from riding in the rain for so long. Even though I pushed hard on the climb, I felt like my arms were square and entering the corners on the descent felt really odd. I knew I could drop Annemiek (van Vleuten) on the descent, and that was my goal.”
Kasia led the chase for the final 6km to the finish line, maintaining a gap to those behind and sprinting to third place.
“I feel like I want to find a way so that I can hold the wheel of Demi. I believe there are things that could be improved, and getting third today is just more encouraging not to let go or give up but to continue that chase,” adds Kasia.
Vollering leads the overall, with Marlen Reusser at +50 seconds and Kasia at +55 seconds. Soraya is the team’s next best-placed rider at +1:45 in eighth place. Alice Towers sits third in the youth classification with two stages remaining.
HOW TO WATCH
Stage 2 of Itzulia Women can be followed on Twitter with #ItzuliaWomen2023. The live broadcast starts at 12:30CEST on GCN, Eurosport and EITB.EUS.