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08 Apr 2019

Becking and Fischer win Flash Stage

Rain fell throughout the day while mud painted a picture of how the stage went down

April 8, 2019 – The Andalucía Bike Race presented by Caja Rural Jaén started with an individual time trial that spanned 37.8 kilometers with 508 meters of elevation gain, with the start and finish located in Linares. The new FLASH STAGE traced a route similar to that of last year’s edition with short, fast and intense sections with numerous, flowy trails interspersed with sections for passing. The rain and the mud took charge of the course conditions since both were present throughout the day.

Natalia Fischer (MMR Factory Racing) played the lead role by gunning for the stage from the first minute to score the win. The Norwegian Hildegunn Hovdenak (Nessetck) finished second and is guarding her efforts for the remaining days. Stefanie Paul climbed to the podium in third position after doing a magnificent job. In the men's category all eyes were on Tiago Ferreira (DMT Racing Team) and David Valero (MMR Factory Racing), but it was the Dutchman Hans Becking (MMR Factory Racing) who won the time trial with an intense effort from the start. Becking was followed closely by Valero and, closing out the podium, the Cordoban Victor Manuel Fernandez (Wolfbike), who fought throughout the stage to finish in a top spot.

Leaving from Paseo de Linarejos, the racers soon found themselves on a gentle ascent that sorted the mountain bike racers for what was to come during the day. The route went through the most iconic enclaves of Jaén’s great mining heritage. The racer who inaugurated this year’s edition of the Andalucía Bike Race presented by Caja Rural Jaén was the Swede, Mónica Schneebeli, in the Master Women’s category.

It was a day in which the rain and mud were the main characters since the rain fell all night and continued uninterrupted throughout the day, which made the route challenging for racers. Despite this, the show went on and everyone was

able to enjoy a tough Flash Stage that will give way to the first marathon-distance stage tomorrow. The elite podium is as follows: Stage classification: FLASH STAGE - Men 1 Hans Becking (DMT Racing Team by Marconi) 01:22:09 2 David Valero (MMR Factory Racing) 01:22:39 3 Víctor M. Fernández (Wolfbike) 01:24:19 Once he finished the stage, Hans Becking (DMT Racing Team by Marconi) remarked that "in a time trial you race against yourself and because of that, everybody was nervous and excited. The stage was very good; there was lots of rain, which is good for me because it rains often in the Netherlands and in Belgium so I'm used to it. As a team we have done very well, we hope to continue this way over the next several days.” In turn, David Valero (MMR Factory Racing) indicated that "it was a very fast stage – a day complicated by water and mud with 100% mountain bike conditions. It felt good for Day 1 – comfortable in fact. We'll see during tomorrow's first stage if I can defend second place and try to attack the leader a bit. There are many days left and it will be necessary to control efforts because there are six days to cash in on. FLASH STAGE - Women 1 Natalia Fischer (MMR Factory Racing) 01:43:16 2 Hildegunn Hovdenak (Nessetck) 01:44:03 3 Stefanie Paul 01:44:40 Natalia Fischer MMR Factory Racing indicated that "I have gone from less to more by always staying in control. I knew it was a tough race and, despite the rain and mud, I felt good. It's a long race, so we’ll continue to improve, to control the technical sections that are coming tomorrow. I hope to be competitive.

The defending champion, Hildegunn Hovdenak (Nessetck) said that "it was a very good stage, muddier than I thought — similar to last year’s stage. I wasn’t too prepared to face a stage with rain, I also had some small problems with my brakes but I think that it was generally a good stage for me. Obviously I wanted to win but Natalia was very strong today, I hope to be strong in the coming days. Five days is a lot!

Tomorrow’s first marathon-distance stage The second stage of Andalucía Bike Race presented by Caja Rural Jaén presents a 75.2-kilometer route with 1,252 meters of elevation with the start and finish once more in Linares. It is a stage partly based on Stage 2 of last year’s edition but with more trails and passes through visually spectacular places alongside the Rumblar reservoir with a new and intense finishing stretch through the mining district of Linares. The stage will cross Guarromán twice and will reach the Baños de la Encina. It is a stage with a challenging route that will serve as a sendoff from Linares.

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