27 Feb 2018
The day dawned rainy in Andújar. The mountain bike racers looked suspiciously skyward as the clouds painted the day gray — a day that was expected to be intense, since this transition stage for many, was to be a determining factor in the home stretch of the 2018 Andalucía Bike Race presented by Shimano. After a great stage by Tiago Fereira and Natalia Fischer today's classification is as follows:
Stage 3 – Men
Tiago Ferreira (DMT Racing) - 03:05:16
José Diaz (DMT Racing) - 00.00.00
Hans Becking (DMT Racing) - 00.00.00
Stage 3 - Women
Natalia Fischer (TBellès-Cannondale - GAES by Sural) - 03:48:35
Naima Madlen (MCIpollini-Tuspo Weende) - 03:51:11
Hildegunn G. Hovdenak (VPG) - 03:57:57
After scoring today’s results, Ferreira remains in the lead in the men's category while Natalia Fischer has ousted Chloe Woodruff from first place.
General Classification — Men:
Tiago Ferreira (DMT Racing) - 06:52:18
Hans Becking (DMT Racing) - 06:42:38
Keegan Swenson (Stan's Pivot Pro P/B MAXXIS) - 06:53:06
General Classification — Women:
Natalia Fischer (TBellès-Cannondale-GAES by Sural) - 08:31:59
Naima Madlen (DMT Racing) - 08:37:26
Chloe Woodruff (Stan's Pivot Pro P/B MAXXIS) - 08:38:35
Andújar has always been synonymous with epic challenge for mountain bikers. A 70km stage with about 2000 meters of cumulative elevation gain marked today as highly demanding. He or she who soft-pedaled in Andújar would pay for it later in Córdoba. And Tiago Ferreira, the men’s race leader, knew that. The route began with a long climb to Virgen de la Cabeza and passed through La Centenera. Then the mountain bike racers faced the sinuous descent down the Caracolillos, followed by the demanding El Madroño climb to finish by descending down Camino Viejo. It was a stage to start making shrewd race moves.
Same as the previous day, Tiago Ferreira forged a pace intent on controlling the stage. He schooled his rivals: Rabensteiner, Ulman, Swenson, and Becking who relentlessly chased him in hopes of snatching the lead from the Portuguese. Upon passing through the second control point, Ferreira’s teammate, Hans Becking, had been dispatched to the head of the race followed by Swenson and Rabensteiner, who saw an opportunity to distance themselves from the leader in the general. The Portuguese struggled on the Los Caracolillos descent and lost 20 seconds to the lead group. But coming up, there was a hard climb that would be decisive in the final section.
After losing seconds in Los Caracolillos, Tiago Ferreira resumed the role of leader by making up time on the El Madroño climb. It was a hard climb in which the Portuguese was unbeatable as he managed to get back to the front of the race. The last part of the stage was a descent down El Camino Viejo that would end at the finish line in Andújar.
Today's day was special for all the racers, but it was particularly special for Miguel Muñoz of the BUFF® Scott MTB team who was racing on home turf. Muñoz said that, "At the beginning I caught the lead group but after flatting, many racers —at least 50 — passed me. Once the flat was repaired, the race started for me once again and I picked off racers until I reached the front, which was the most important thing. I didn’t want to waste a lot of time — that’s what I wanted."
Muñoz, who knew the terrain, declared upon arriving at the finish that, "today was the hardest stage we’ll have in the Andalucía Bike presented by Shimano.”
The stage winner, as well as the leader in the general, Tiago Ferreira, said when he arrived at the finish that "today's stage went very well — first because I already knew it from last year, then because with last night’s rain, it became a harder stage, which was better for us. The terrain was tough and increased the physical demands, which made a lot more of a difference."
Over the course of the day Tiago said that "I, Hans and José have led almost the entire race, except for a couple times when Swenson went up front; we risked little and managed to preserve the podium. We controlled the whole race."
The Portuguese made it clear during the second stage of competition by indicating that, "Now the strategy is based on keeping the jersey and by maintaining the lead each day. Today's stage was like yesterday’s; we’ve completed two full stages but I think the hardest will be tomorrow."
In the women's category, Málaga’s Natalia Fischer has upset the general classification after a great race on the transition day. Natalia, who on the second day in Linares finished far off the podium, came out in Andújar with the sole intention of placing herself on the box. Said and done. Fischer commanded much of the race. By the first checkpoint she had detonated the distance between her and the group that led the general classification, but there were still many kilometers to come. By the second checkpoint, the TBellès-Cannondale-Gaes by Sural mountain biker had already distanced herself from Naima Madlen, second in the GC. From there to the finish, the Málagan didn’t get discouraged but rather worked hard to take victory: she took a risk and was awarded the stage win and then some with respect to her second chaser. That was — until now — the leader in the general, who suffered from the race’s profile. Chloe Wooddruff is not a specialist in endurance competitions so the American had to conserve her strength today in order to reach the finish line on Friday.
Natalia, upon arriving at the finish line, stated that, "Andújar offered us a spectacular course from start to finish. Today’s race was quite hard because it rained all night and the terrain was very muddy and that made it very difficult to ride a bike."
The Málagan indicated that, "I was guarding my position when I came to the first climb where I doubled down because I knew I was on my turf. Things went well and I was holding steady on the descents to get into first position. Natalia said that, "I will face the remaining stages head on depending upon time. The first stage in Córdoba I knew was very hard with a lot of elevation gain. I will do everything possible, the training is done and the homework too. Now it's time to recover to the fullest."
61 km BUFF® Stage Arrives in Córdoba
Due to the forecast for severe weather conditions and, in order to ensure the health and safety of all race participants, race organizers along with UCI officials have decided to shorten the distance for tomorrow's BUFF® stage. An initial loop has been eliminated in favor of maintaining the BUFF® stage’s best sections, which now boast 61km with 1,427m of cumulative elevation gain instead of the original 91km. The 30 km stretch was removed from between kilometers 17.7-47.7 and has eliminated the Monte Cobre descent, as well as the climb through the village of Trassierra, the Artafi pass and the Baños de Popea.
The BUFF® stage will be configured as follows: starting from the city’s center, the route will ascend the Reventón and roll through the environs of Trassierra to head in the direction of Las Jaras and the Los Villares golf course. The road will be used for the transition to Cerro Muriano, giving racers a break until they head into some of the longest and most demanding descents to finish with the fluid and fun trails of Santo Domingo. It will be a stage filled with fans cheering for the riders.