• Annemiek van Vleuten soloed to victory to take the first race back after the pandemic pause (Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa)Source: Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa
For the second time this season, Annemiek van Vleuten soloed to victory resplendent in rainbows. Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa race organisers also issued a statement addressing coronavirus safety concerns.
Cycling Central

Mitchelton-Scott, AD
24 Jul 2020 - 10:49 AM  UPDATED 24 Jul 2020 - 3:02 PM

Mitchelton-Scott's Annemiek van Vleuten escaped from rival Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) on the final climb of the Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa with just lone leader Mavi Garcia (Alé-BTC Ljubljana) left to pass which she accomplished on a small dig on the descent. 

Garcia and van der Breggen rounded out the podium with Australian Amanda Spratt in 10th. 

“At the start I didn’t have any expectation to win to be honest, because Lucy (Kennedy) and Amanda (Spratt) were actually the leaders today," van Vleuten said. "Just the girls weren’t really on an awesome day, so they dropped on the third climb and I came there with a small group on the top of that climb."

“I am of course happy I won but I am really very happy because I also raced tactically smart. On the final descent with five kilometres to go there was a small 300 metre uphill and I had that really in my mind.

"We did a recon and I knew it was a good opportunity. I caught Mavi (Garcia) by surprise because I was very prepared for it and then I held on for the final four kilometres to the finish."

“I am very happy with the day and also I want to give a shout out to the organisation with how they organised it, how they kept it safe and made sure everyone was tested here, they were very serious.”

Race organisers address coronavirus safety concerns, 'flatly denies' CCC-Liv's reasoning 

Pro team CCC-Liv withdrew from the race citing concerns around testing as well as the surge in cases in the region around the race in Pamplona. The Cyclists Alliance' also called for race organisers to provide more details about how it met the UCI's protocols and asking the UCI to reconsider if the race should go ahead. 

'The health risks are simply too great' - CCC-Liv pulls plug on racing resumption in Navarra
CCC-Liv were scheduled to press the reset button on the cycling season tonight (AEST) in Spain along with a number of the top pro women's teams but pulled the plug citing safety concerns. The Cyclists' Alliance has also called upon the UCI to investigate and cancel races that don't follow its strict protocols.

At 9pm last night (AEST), several hours before the race start, organisers issued a statement addressing the concerns saying it had received all the negative tests of the cyclists and staff who were to take to the start line and that it had excluded from the race, teams who had not submitted negative tests. 

"In this way, it complies scrupulously with the health and safety protocol set by the Health department of the Government of Navarra and the members of the organization are in permanent contact with the top medical officers of the UCI," the statement read. 

"On the other hand, the organisation has contacted the University Clinic of Navarra to speed up the procedures for the PCR tests for excluded teams who wish to undergo them and thus be able to participate in the race.

"The CCC-LIV team, without presenting the corresponding PCRs and without notification to the organisation, has made the decision not to participate in the race. The organisation flatly denies the reasons given by the aforementioned team for not being part of the test."

As per the race organisers' statement, nine other teams were excluded from the race: Bizkaia Durango, Belori VIPEQ Team, Laboral Kutxa-Fundacion Euskadi, Rio Miera, WCC Team, Sopela Women’s Team, Massi Tactic, Farto-Aguas Do Parano. 

On the startlist Cycling Central saw early yesterday, it appeared that Australian Rachel Neylan and her team Casa Dorada Women Cycling were also meant to start the race.

She posted this Tweet yesterday and the race results confirm the team did not take to the start.  

Rider Lucinda Brand (Trek-Segafredo) sympathised with the concerns of CCC-Liv and The Cyclists' Alliance, telling Dutch publication AD of the confusion - and more - on the ground. 

"At first it seemed that the organisation could not explain whether riders had been tested or not," Brand told AD.

"The big teams and the riders association then emphasised that it had to be possible to demonstrate or test. The organisation then said that only numbers are issued when there are test results. 

"The things that the UCI asked for turned out not to be the case. As for every team, its own floor or wing in a hotel. So there were also rumors that teams had not been tested.

"Then you start to doubt, no matter how much you want to ride here. And also because I realise that the most important races such as Strade Bianche and the other WorldTour races are still to come.''