In a gripping second stage of the 2024 Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, Marianne Vos of Visma | Lease a Bike claimed victory in the demanding mountain stage, solidifying her lead in the general classification.

The 95-kilometre route from La Seu d’Urgell to La Molina featured two significant climbs, testing the riders’ endurance. The stage’s key challenge included the Collada de Toses, a 21.4 km climb at 3.2%, followed by a descent leading into the final 11.1 km climb to La Molina, with an average gradient of 4.3%.

AG Insurance-Soudal set a fierce pace on the Collada de Toses, aiming to protect their leader, Ally Wollaston, while also positioning the likes of Gigante and Le Court for the final climb. Asheligh Moolman-Pasio unfortunately didn’t take the start today. The peloton, reduced to a smaller group by the Belgian team’s efforts, regrouped for the ascent to La Molina.

Visma | Lease a Bike took control as the climb began, with Fem van Empel launching the first attack. She was followed by Femke de Vries, whose efforts set the stage for Vos. “The plan was for Fem and Femke to make the race hard from the foot of the climb,” Vos explained. “They executed it superbly. After Femke’s attack, I looked around and saw we were all still there. At that moment, I decided to make my move.”

Vos’s first attempt was met with a response, but her subsequent attack three kilometres from the summit saw her break away solo. The timing was perfect, allowing her to gain over 20 seconds in the final descent before the finish. Her teammate, Riejanne Markus, played a crucial role by disrupting the chase group containing Anderson and Aalerud. This tactical manoeuvre enabled Vos to ride unchallenged to victory in La Molina.

“This is bizarre,” Vos remarked after her win. “I never expected to be able to compete for the win in a mountain stage. The legs felt good and on the final climb, I tried to keep up as long as possible. As the group got smaller and smaller, I still saw many teammates around me. That was a great feeling and motivated me tremendously.”

Vos now leads the general classification with a 51-second advantage over Markus. Katrine Aalerud trails by a minute and eight seconds in third place. Looking ahead to the final stage, Vos noted, “We will definitely try to keep the jersey. Tomorrow’s stage has some hills, but it’s a completely different stage from today. I think many teams will want some action, so it won’t be easy.”

Alice Towers commented on the stage: “The stage was hot and raced aggressively. The undulating course all day was challenging. Nastya, Awen and I tried our best to avoid a bunch sprint and take a small break to the line. Too many other teams wanted a sprint, so our attempts were in vain. I focused on finishing safely, just outside the top, and looking ahead to tomorrow’s GC day. My teammates were super at helping me, and the feeling on the team was upbeat after the race.”

Awen Roberts added, “We did well and worked well together – communication was good throughout. On a hot day, we made sure that we were fuelling correctly. It was a hectic finish, but we didn’t lose time on GC, which was good. It was not as hot today as the Andalucia stages, and we used what we learned there to improve today.”

With one stage remaining, the competition is set for an exciting conclusion in Barcelona.

2024 Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Stage 2 result

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