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26 Feb 2018

Tiago Ferreira and Chloe Woodruff dominate in the general after the second stage

Michele Casagrande wins after a stage of 71.27 kilometers and 1,164 meters of climbing

Linares has bid farewell to the 2018 Andalucía Bike Race presented by Shimano with a day marked by low temperatures. It didn’t take long for the mountain bikers to warm up as they charged into the 72 km route that traveled between Linares and Baños de la Encina along the border of the Rumblar reservoir and criss-crossed its adjacent trails. It was a rolling stage that ended up sampling some of the trails of the Linares mining district to finish at the Paseo de Linarejos.

 

Stage Classification:

 

Elite men

1 Michele Casagrande - Trek Selle San Marco

2 Enrique Morcillo - BUFF® SCOTT MTB

3 Jochen Käss - Centurion Vaude

Elite women

1 Chloe Woodruff - Stan´s Pivot Pro p/b Maxxis

2 Gjertrud Hildegunn - VPG

3 Naima Madlen - MCipollini/Tuspo Weende

With today’s stage results, the GC suffered some shakeups:

Elite men

1 Tiago Ferreira – DMT Racing

2 Hans Becking – DMT Racing

3 Francesco Failli – ASD Cicli Taddei

Elite women

1 Chloe Woodruff  - Stan´s Pivot Pro p/b Maxxis

2 Hildegunn Hovdenak – Nesset CK

3 Natalia Fischer – Tbellès- Cannondale- GAES by Sural

The stage began according to expectations with race favorites forging a white-hot pace from the start in an attempt to upset the podium standings. Rabensteiner, Ferreira, Ulman, and Samuele Porro tried to sustain the punishing pace in order to break free of the chase group before reaching Baños de la Encina.

 

At the course’s midpoint, the race began to break apart. The Portuguese racer, Tiago Ferreira, whose elevated speed made him tough to follow, began to dispatch his chasers at will and forced many of those in pursuit out of the lead group. Only Swenson, Robensteiner, Failli, Casagrande, Ferraro, Jeanniard and Becking could maintain Ferreira’s rhythm all the way to the Baños de la Encina feed zone where, from this point to the finish, there was just one climb. Tiago Ferreira controlled this last hard section so as not to suffer any surprises in the final section, since the final kilometers — same as in yesterday’s time trial — featured a fast, technical descent to the finish line.

 

The Portuguese gave it his all. He controlled the pace and owned the stage’s finishing stretch while at the same time delighting all the fans lining the course by exhibiting technique and command of the terrain.

 

The Portuguese confirmed upon arrival that "the stage went as we expected: very fast. I controlled the race almost from the beginning when the race leader flatted, which allowed me to take command because I knew I was the leader."

 

Ferrerira, having the foresight for what’s ahead affirmed that, "tomorrow and the day after will be the hardest part of the race. How today’s stage unfolded went well for me and will allow me to keep up the strength to be ready for the next days.”

 

This second stage in Linares ended in a sprint finish in which the new GC leader didn’t want to participate because as he said "I tried to help Hans Becking, who is faster but I knew I was leading and I wasn’t going to risk a fall since getting into the sprint was not going to earn me anything."

 

This same feeling was shared in the women’s category. Hildegunn Hovdenak, who battled with Chloe Woodruff to seize the podium, said that "We rode together during the middle of the stage, but when she started throwing down attacks, I couldn’t advance because I got caught up with other racers and was edged out.”

 

Norway's Nesset CK indicated that, "I want a victory this week. Maybe tomorrow is the best day for me. I don’t like long ascents; I like undulating terrain more, so we'll see."

 

Transitional Stage

With this stated threat to the women’s podium, the Andalucía Bike Race presented by Shimano moves on to Andújar. It will be a transition day between the provinces of Jaén and Córdoba with a course marked by the long ascent to Virgen de la Cabeza via La Centenera, which precedes the sinuous Caracolillos descent, followed by the demanding El Madroño ascent to finish on Camino Viejo. It will be a deal-breaker of a stage.

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