09 May 2019
May 9, 2019 - La Rioja Bike Race started with a fast 17.6-km stage that started from the Bodega Institucional de La Grajera. After a few kilometers skirting the Logroño golf course, the route passed through the area to the south, through the vineyards of Rioja before returning and facing the day’s greatest physical and technical challenge: the classic section of the Pico del Águila. This was the moment when the stage split randomly into the men’s and women’s categories. In the first section, the elite men were in a group that included Ever Alejandro Gómez (Olympia Factory Cycling), Vlad Dascalu (Brújula Bike Racing Team), Miguel Muñoz, José María Sánchez, Enrique Morcillo (BUFF®-Scott MTB Team), and Carlos Coloma (BH-Templo Cafés UCC). Coloma, who was familiar with the stage since it was on his home turf, knew that what was yet to come was going to be tough and competitive; he controlled the group at all times.
From that point until the end, the stage became very competitive. Coloma, along with Dascalu, Sánchez and Gómez, took off from the group and faced the final straightaway solo. After a fast and spectacular stage with a favorable finishing stretch ending at La Rioja’s Palacio de los Deportes, Coloma prevailed over his fellow racers, followed by Dascalu and Gómez. Once again the BUFF®-Scott MTB Team pulled off a great stage, staying within striking distance of the podium.
In the women’s category, the race featured two decisive parts. Corina Mesplet (Carlos Coloma Bike Club), followed by Sarah Gosden (Bike 101 C.D.E.) and Cristina Barberán (Symisur Centauro Bikes) dominated the day, but the Pico del Águila took its toll and awarded positions to racers chasing the leaders. One of them was Rocío del Alba Garcia (BH-Templo Cafés UCC), who took a big risk in the last few kilometers and managed to win the first stage with a solo finish. In second was Clàudia Galicia (Megamo Factory Team), who came from behind and applied pressure on the Norwegian, Hildegunn Hovdenak (VPG), who managed to pick off racers who had started fast and strong at the beginning.
Elite men’s Stage and General Classification
1st Carlos Coloma ------------------- 00:32:23
2nd Vlad Dascalu --------------------- 00:32:24
3rd Ever Alejandro Gómez ---------- 00:32:24
Coloma: "It was a super fast stage, very competitive until the final meters. Vlad (Dascalu) is a super fast racer – for sure he will be competing for the general classification with the Buff racers and with Ever. My goal was to reach the sprint, since I have a fairly fast finish ... // I have had the fortune to win here at home; Vlad is very strong and is going to put up a fight".
Vlad: "We went fast from the beginning, the race was very fragmented because everyone wanted to escape and make a name for himself ... // In the end, the sprint came down to Carlos, who is stronger than me. I am very happy with how I felt today and I am eager for the next stages".
Elite women’s Stage and General Classification
1st Rocío del Alba García ------------------------- 00:39:18
2nd Clàudia Galicia ---------------------------------- 00:39:54
3rd Hildegunn Hovdenak ------------------------- 00:41:24
Rocío: "I managed to put myself in the lead but later I tried to give it up because I was pulling hard and everyone else asked me to ease up, so I had to collaborate. I was at the head of the race until I saw my opportunity to go for it. I am very happy to have achieved victory".
Claudia: "We formed a group of five or six girls at the start and, at the end of the last climb, right before launching down the descent, Rocío attacked to enter the singletrack first and from there, she was gone. It’s her region; she’s very fit right before the World Cup; she is racing on home turf, and is favored to win".
STAGE 2 (XCM). May 10, 2019 | 79.3 km + 1681 m elevation gain
Starting out from the La Rioja Palacio de los Deportes in the direction of La Pila and circumnavigating the Logroño golf course, the route will be mainly flat among the vineyards up to Albelda de Iregua, where the still-favorable terrain begins a climb that will break up the peloton after passing Viguera (after the first feedzone). The climb from the Viguera quarry will narrow into a path that connects with the Senda Preciosa, that on this occasion will be a climb to the stage’s highest point. Once in Luezas, riders will descend the wonderful trail there, which has been a climb in past race editions. Upon reaching the vicinity of Trevijano, they will need to conquer a short, steep climb through the meadow and from here, plunge nearly directly down to the finish. The mountains of Nalda offer three spectacular and unprecedented descents: La Leñosa, the Senda Negra finishing with the Monolito, and Las Ruinas finishing at Nalda, in order “to fly” from there to Logroño, but not before repeating the previous stage’s climb up Pico del Águila, which is close to the finish.
12 May 2019