Demi Vollering in driving seat at Vuelta a Burgos Feminas ahead of queen stage

 Demi Vollering (SD Worx) leads the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas heading into the final day

Demi Vollering (SD Worx) leads the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas heading into the final day

In 2022, Demi Vollering won the queen stage of the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas finishing atop a 12-kilometre climb to the Lagunas de Neila ahead of Juliette Labous, but the Frenchwoman took the overall victory as Vollering had lost 49 seconds on stage 3.

This year, during Sunday’s final stage, Vollering’s focus will be on securing the GC victory which may open the door for other riders to go for the stage.

“Of course, I will come back and try to win it,” Vollering promised another go at the Castilian stage race and took great care to avoid losing time in the 2023 edition.

Instead, she distanced many of her rivals in the echelons of stage 2, whittling down the GC field to a handful of riders.

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With one stage to go, Demi Vollering and her SD Worx team are in control of the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas, with Lorena Wiebes in the leader’s jersey and Vollering the best-placed GC rider in third place, 14 seconds behind her teammate who promised to put herself in the service of Vollering on the final stage.

Chloé Dygert (Canyon-Sram) is second overall at the same time as Vollering, but the US rider has yet to prove herself on a long climb like this, losing almost two minutes on stage 5 of the Vuelta Femenina earlier this. Canyon-Sram have a second card to play in Soraya Paladin who will start stage 4 in the red mountain jersey.

She has a 15-second deficit to Vollering, but it is hard to see how Paladin could make up this time to the 26-year-old Dutchwoman. Tamara Dronova (Israel-Premier Tech-Roland) is two seconds further down and will try her best to defend her GC top 10, but like Paladin, long climbs aren’t her main strength.

The only rider still in GC contention who could beat Vollering in a head-to-head fight on the finishing climb is Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (AG Insurance-Soudal-QuickStep). The 37-year-old veteran climber won Durango-Durango at the start of the week but lost contact with Vollering on the uphill finish on stage 2.

Moolman-Pasio is 21 seconds behind the top favourite but will take confidence from the fact that she could distance Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar Team) on the similar climb of Thyon 2000 in last year’s Tour de Romandie.

Trek-Segafredo have the advantage of numbers with Shirin van Anrooij (17 seconds behind Vollering) and Lucinda Brand (37 seconds behind Vollering). An attack on the Lagunas de Neila by either rider can be expected to be covered by Marlen Reusser (SD Worx) who is 30 seconds behind her team’s leader, but such a move could put Vollering under pressure.

While the top 10 fight for a good GC placing, other riders could profit from the two-minute time loss they incurred on stage 2.

The likes of Silvia Persico (UAE Team ADQ), Alexandra Manly (Jayco-AlUla), Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-SUEZ), Claire Steels (Israel-Premier Tech-Roland), Ane Santesteban (Jayco-AlUla), Erica Magnaldi (UAE Team ADQ), and Clara Koppenburg (Cofidis) are no danger to Vollering anymore and can instead focus on winning the stage. Getting a head start on the 6km Alto del Collado de Vilviestre that crests 23.5km from the finish could be key in such an attempt.