The Itzulia Women stage race began on Thursday with a 105.9 km ride from Vitoria-Gasteiz to Labastida, with Canadian Olivia Baril finishing 18th. Demi Vollering became the first rider to wear the Itzulia Women’s yellow jersey after winning. This is the first year for the Itzulia Basque Country stage race. It was supposed to take place in 2021 but was pushed to 2022. The stage race will visit all three areas of the Basque country: Alava, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa.
There were no breakaways in Friday’s opening stage until 39.2 km when three riders broke away: Mireia Benito, Cristina Tonetti and Prisca Savi took off, with at one point having a three minute advantage. Later a group of 4 riders formed: Lucinda Brand , Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Demi Vollerin, and Elise Chabbey countered, but were ultimately caught by the charing peloton.
With 10km to go, there were more attacks, with Kristen Faulkner, Demi Vollering. and Pauliena Rooijakkers staying clear until the finish. Vollering took the sprint. Baril finished 18th, taking the same time as the main group, 41 seconds behind.
Baril is coming off of a great win on Sunday at the Gran Premio Ciudad de Eibar. The Canadian outkicked a break of five, with Mavi García, and Ane Santesteban placing second and third. The 112-km race in Eibar, Spain, has a 1.1 UCI classification. She also had a great showing at the Tour of Flanders as part of a small breakaway that spent most of the day on the front.
Saturday’s stage is a 117.9 km race in Mallabia, with some a tough climb to the finish.