13 May 2018
After three intense, epic, and beautiful stages, the fifth edition of La Rioja Bike Race presented by Shimano ended today with the victory of Mathieu Van der Poel, both in today’s stage (51 kilometers with 686 meters of climbing), and in the elite men’s general classification.
Today was an unprecedented stage that took place in the proximity of Logroño. The stage started off in the direction of El Cortijo and traveled the characteristic route alongside the Ebro River to climb Candorras and return to the finish down the La Pila mountain.
The current European cyclocross champion and ex-world champion made a statement in his race debut with three wins in three stages. He forged a mighty pace while maintaining an interesting duel with the Romanian, Vlad Dascalu (Brujula Bike Racing), who managed to finish second after a short and very fast stage. It was a stage for cross-country specialists in which the Riojan and race ambassador, Carlos Coloma (Primaflor-Mondraker-Rotor-Ajram Capital), finished in third, which scored him his second podium in this edition.
Van der Poel was very satisfied upon reaching the finish line. "It’s been three very intense days in La Rioja Bike Race presented by Shimano,” Van der Poel said. “I am surprised by the race routes, La Rioja’s impressive landscapes, and the work of the organization. I hope to return.”
The Spaniard, Enrique Morcillo (BUFF®-Scott), and the Bolivian, Ever Alejandro Gómez (Olympia Factory Cycling), also climbed onto the podium in the general classification by finishing second and third respectively. The defending race champion up until today, Francesc Guerra (BUFF®-Scott), finished fourth and Romanian transplant to La Rioja, Vlad Dascalu, was fifth.
"At the beginning of the race, the route was super fast and we all rode at a very high pace. I kept up with the group until the first hard climb where I attacked and I gave it everything. Soon after, we were alone, Van der Poel and I. First I pulled ahead — I knew the terrain well, then after leapfrogging the lead, in the end he won since he has a faster sprint than I do. I'm very happy with my performance here," declared Dascalu when he arrived in Logroño.
According to Morcillo, second overall, the same happened as in the Andalucía Bike Race presented by Shimano. "Everything was decided yesterday so today, we came to control; we rode close to my teammate, Francesc Guerra. After these three stages, and after seeing the race roster, finishing second is a great result."
Carlos Coloma also took pride in his performance today. "The stage was very fast. I rode much better than yesterday and I was with the lead group for a long time. Then, Mathieu and Vlad escaped and I didn’t want to go with them because I didn’t have much strength. I pushed at the end since I have a good sprint finish, and today’s third place today tastes like victory."
The other Olympic mountain bike medalist who participated in La Rioja Bike Race presented by Shimano, José Antonio Hermida (Merida), didn’t want to miss this year's edition. "In the stretch that ran through Logroño, we were all going very fast and staying in a group because you knew that at any time, once we hit the trails the trails, those who were out in front would escape, and that’s how it went down. I had a mishap with a stone, which made me lose a lot of time, but in the end, we all left with a smile after three intense and very fun days.”
Vlad Dascalu 01:44:39
Carlos Coloma 01:48:14
Enrique Morcillo 07:30:02
Ever Alejandro Gómez 07:30:28
In the Elite Women’s category, Clàudia Galicia has proven to be the dominator of La Rioja Bike Race presented by Shimano. The runner-up in the 2017 European MTB Marathon (XCM) Championship, and winner of all five race editions managed to maintain the more than seven-minute lead she had on the Norwegian, Hildegunn Hovdenak (VPG), before starting this third stage.
In today's stage Hovdenak was second and Sandra Santanyes (Olympia Factory Cycling), was third. After today’s win, Galicia claimed her fourteenth victory in the race’s fifteen-stage history.
"Today's stage was very fun, but it was also the one in which I suffered the most throughout all five editions. Anyway, winning today for the fifth time is great, I couldn’t ask for more," said Galicia.
Stage 3 - Women
Clàudia Galicia 02:01:55
Hildegunn Hovdenak 02:04:58
Sandra Santanyes 02:13:35
General Classification - Women
Clàudia Galicia 08:53:38
Hildegunn Hovdenak 09:04:16
Clara Fernández 09:23:31
In the Master 30 category the winner was Sergio Flores (Descendant); Master 40: José López; Master 50: Timothy Kirkus (Pure Mountains); and Master 60: David Abizanda (Mercedes Auto-Oja). In the women’s category, the winner of Master Women is Muriel Bouhet (LaPierre).
In the team classification of the 2018 La Rioja Bike Race presented by Shimano, Olympia Factory Cycling has won the category.