Ella Harris of Canyon SRAM Racing has recorded the biggest result of her career at the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas.  The 20 year old won the young rider classification and finished 8th overall in the four-day race which was won by Stene Borgli of Norway.

The Vuelta a Burgos Feminas is a four-day, 364.2km stage race that started this year in Villadiego, about three hours north of Madrid.  The race attracted almost 100 riders including teams Alé Cipollini, BePink, Movistar, Canyon SRAM Racing and more.  For Harris it was her second outing in May after April had largely been spent away from the start line.  March had been a busy month, however, with multiple starts at some of the biggest one-day races on the calendar including Ronde van Drenthe and Trofeo Alfredo Binda.

17 riders formed the breakaway on the opening – and longest day of racing – with Karlijn Swinkels of Alé Cipollini, Maaike Boogaard of BTC City Ljubljana, Alba Teruel, Alicia Gonzalez and Lourdes Oyarbide of Movistar and Fraser’s Canyon SRAM Racing teammates Christa Riffel and Rotem Gafinovitz.  The break formed a lead of 2.20mins before the peloton began hauling them back, but despite losing a few riders and much of their advantage, the break would succeed in holding off the advancing peloton; with Swinkels taking the sprint and with it the first race leader’s jersey.

Harris crossed the line in the main peloton to sit in 66th position overall, but only 12 seconds off of Swinkels; who also had the lead in the points and young rider classifications at the end of day 1.

Harris’ journey up the standings really came to the fore in stages 2 and 3.  The second stage, starting and finishing in Poza de la Sal, finished with a nasty uphill climb to the line, 2.15km in length and averaging 5%.  Despite that, almost the entire field made it to the line together, in part because of the cold and windy conditions that – combined with light rain – made it very difficult for riders to go clear.  Mavi García of Movistar, Rottem Gafinovitz of Canyon SRAM Racing, Katia Ragusa of BePink and Ainara Elbusto of Bizkaia-Durango all tried to get up the road early but to no avail.

In the sprint for the line Canyon SRAM Racing performed very strongly with both Ella Harris and teammate Alena Amialiusik crossing the line in the top ten; 8th and 4th respectively.  The stage was won by Soraya Paladin of Alé Cipollini, while Harris’ performance moved her up to 37th overall, and up to 13th in the young rider classification.

The breakthrough for Harris, however, came in stage 3 from Medina de Pomar to Alto de Rosales.  This time the tough uphill finish did produce significant time gaps, that the Kiwi would capitalise on.  The stage had two category three climbs to contend with early on before another 2km climb to the line; this one averaging 7% gradient.

Attacks came and went throughout the day, but none were able to build a lead in excess of a minute.  The stage was decided by a move that drew four riders up the road.  Soraya Paladin of Alé Cipollini was the fastest of them, taking the stage, with Stine Borgli of Norway, BTC City Ljubljana’s Urša Pintar and Movistar’s Mavi Garcia 2nd-4th.  Behind them the time gaps opened up, with Ella Harris again crossing the finish line in 8th place, but this time leaping up the general classification to 8th overall and also the lead of the young rider classification with one day to go.  Her lead in the classification was 8 seconds over Maaike Boogaard.

The final stage from Pedrosa de Valdeporres to Villarcayo was 85km in length and expected to finish in a bunch sprint.  But a trio of riders shaped the race in the form of Lourdes Oyarbide of Movistar, Fernanda Yapura of WCC Team and Eugenia Bujak of BTC City Ljubljana.  Bujak was the first to crack, leaving Yapura and Oyarbide up ahead and with 35km to go the duo had 1.30mins in hand on the peloton.

On the final climb of the race with 21.5km to go Oyarbide attacked.  Going into time trial mode, the Spaniard recorded a brilliant stage win in front of her home crowd, 1 minute ahead of the chasing peloton.  Jelena Erić led the peloton home for Alé Cipollini, but a split in the bunch meant that Ella Harris lost 6 seconds to young rider classification rival Maaike Boogaard who crossed the line 5th.  However, Harris had done enough to win the classification by just 2 seconds; also securing 8th overall, 21 seconds behind Stine Borgli who held on for the win.

In a strong four days of racing from Canyon SRAM Racing, the team also placed 2nd in the team classification.

General classification:

RankLast NameFirst NameCountryTeamResult
1BORGLIStineNOR       
9:29:00
2PALADINSorayaITA       ALE CIPOLLINI9:29:00
3GARCIA CAÑELLASMargarita VictoESP       MOVISTAR TEAM WOMEN9:29:00
4PINTARUrskaSLO       BTC CITY LJUBLJANA9:29:00
5LORVIKIngridNOR       HITEC PRODUCTS – BIRK SPORT9:29:11
6RIABCHENKOTetianaUKR       DOLTCINI – VAN EYCK SPORT UCI WOMEN CYCLING9:29:12
7ŽIGARTUrškaSLO       BTC CITY LJUBLJANA9:29:14
8HARRISEllaNZL       CANYON / /SRAM RACING 9:29:21
9BOOGAARDMaaikeNED       BTC CITY LJUBLJANA9:29:23
10REISDanielaPOR       DOLTCINI – VAN EYCK SPORT UCI WOMEN CYCLING9:29:23

Photo: Marion Wright/RoadCycling.co.nz

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