The Dutch squad positioned Canada’s Leah Kirchmann on top of the overall ranking ahead of the circuit race in Madrid on Sunday when the male and female peloton of La Vuelta 18 comes to town.
106 riders from 19 different teams took the start of the 4th edition of the WNT Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta. The first team on the starting ramp was the Spanish national selection at 15.30 with sunny weather conditions, hot temperatures up to 30° and very little wind.
After one hour of racing while teams rode four minutes after each other, Cogeas Mettler Pro Cycling Team set the best time in 18’50’’. BTC City Ljubljana rode faster in 18’32’’ while the much-awaited local Movistar Team clocked in 18’54’’, the same time as Valcar PBM who came with high ambitions for Italy’s Elisa Balsamo.
The last four teams were the recognised favourites in the discipline. As expected, the five members of Wiggle High5 smashed the time of the Slovenian-registered BTC City Ljublljana squad. They were the first to cross the line within 18 minutes as they covered the course in 17’58’’. But their joy was short lived as Team Sunweb reached the finishing area in front of the Palacio del Infante Don Luis in 17’40’’ at the average speed of 42.8km/h.
Australia’s Mitchelton-Scott couldn’t do any better than that and scored the third best time in 18’26’’. Kirchmann led Team Sunweb over the finish line and will wear the lilac jersey in the capital of Spain for the second and final stage of the WNT Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta.