11 May 2018
The fifth edition of the La Rioja Bike Race presented by Shimano had a spectacular start. More than 1,200 mountain bikers spanning 22 nationalities covered a stage of 67.2 km with 2,079 meters of climbing. The stage, which was dominated from the start by the cyclocross star, the Dutchman Mathieu Van der Poel, passed through Clavijo, Trevijano, Luezas and the Montes de Nalda. The Spaniard Clàudia Galicia, dominated from the beginning as well and continues to be unbeatable.
"I suffered a strong fall in a fairly easy part of the stage — maybe I wasn’t focused enough at that moment. Anyway, I hope to be able to start tomorrow because today was very nice and I hope to see what the next two days bring me. I have been very impressed by the scenery, the place is beautiful and I have really enjoyed the trails and the weather."
The Riojan race ambassador, Carlos Coloma (Primaflor-Mondraker-Rotor-Ajram Capital), "only" managed second place on terrain that he knows well. "The race plan was straight out of a textbook until kilometer 25, where I was in seventh place. I headed into an area that I know well, but Van der Poel had a two-and-a-half minute advantage over me and it was impossible to reach him," said the Olympic medalist.
Francesc Guerra (BUFF®-Scott), defending champion of La Rioja Bike Race presented by Shimano, finished third in a sprint with Ever Alejandro Gómez (Olympia Factory Cycling). Guerra sustained a crash without suffering any consequences.
Men’s General Classification
1. Mathieu Van der Poel 2:45:13
2. Carlos Coloma 2:48:09
3. Francesc Guerra 2:49:15
In the women’s category, Clàudia Galicia's epic tale continues with this race. Galicia has won all the stages so far of La Rioja Bike Race presented by Shimano, including today’s stage. That’s 13 consecutive stage victories!
Second was Clara Fernández (Scott-Sanferbike), and third was the Norwegian, Hildegunn Hovdenak (VPG). "I dominated the stage from the beginning, but when I reached the top of the first climb, I saw Clara and I had to push hard,” said Galicia, who set herself apart on the magnificent descents offered by the Rioja race.
Women's General Classification
1. Clàudia Galicia 3:22:55
2. Clara Fernández 3:26:33
3. Hildegunn Hovdenak 03:31:38
A demanding yet fun stage
It was a new and unprecedented stage for the La Rioja Bike Race presented by Shimano. The stage departed from Logroño in the direction of the Iregua Valley toward Alberite, and progressively climbed the singletrack among the vineyards to Clavijo. From there the route continued the climb until the rocky Aldera bypass, where another unprecedented, beautiful, but hard section began. From the heliport there, the route descended by a fun trail through meadows to Trevijano, where the racecourse took a route that connects with the stunningly beautiful path that ascends to Luezas.
After rolling through another meadow, the main descent began from this remote place. The route joined together the Preciosa and Bonita trails just below Peña Saida. Almost immediately, racers climbed the Montes de Nalda via a gentle trail until they took the Friar’s path up to link to a descent down a new trail, the Leñosa, which continued along the Barranco de la Barriguilla to once again flow into Clavijo. After descending past the castle, the return to Logroño was very fast through favorable and easy terrain.
Tomorrow is the BUFF® stage, the one with the greatest accumulated elevation gain
The BUFF® Stage in this edition will set out from Logroño by rolling down trails that cross hills and vineyards on the way toward Daroca de Rioja, where the Moncalvillo climb begins. It’s a demanding climb — similar to climbs in past editions, with stretches of meadow and trail that facilitate passing. You will not reach the Moncalvillo summit without first taking an unprecedented uphill route only to face some demanding rollers, and then descending La Hermedaña, one of the most emblematic sections of the race. After that the race once again climbs toward Moncalvillo along a manageable trail with horseshoe bends, and then immediately plunges down the entirety of the magnificent Las Neveras descent to end in Sojuela. The race returns to Logroño as directly as possible, but includes a final loop around the Águila peak, which has also appeared in previous editions, and which will be the stage’s ultimate test of physical and technical difficulty.