One of the early women’s cycling stage races comes this week with the 32nd edition of the Emakumeen Bira, with four stages rolling through the Basque country of Spain:
● 22 May: Stage 1 (101.9 km): Iurreta to Iurreta (flat)
● 23 May: Stage 2 (110.8 km): Aduna to Amasa (hilly)
● 24 May: Stage 3 (97.6 km): Murgia to Santa Teodosia (hilly)
● 25 May: Stage 4 (155.8 km): Oñati › Oñati (hilly)
Defending champ Amanda Spratt (AUS) is back, along with three other previous medal winners:
● Amanda Spratt (AUS) ~ Defending Champion
● Annemiek van Vleuten (NED) ~ Second in 2010-17-18
● Elisa Longo Borghini (ITA) ~ Second in 2013
● Tatiana Guderzo (ITA) ~ Second in 2008
Other contenders will certainly include Jolien D’Hoore (BEL), Amy Pieters (NED) and Amalie Dideriksen (DEN), all riding for the Boels-Dolmans Team.
There have been 11 races completed on the Women’s World Tour for 2019 and Dutch riders have won eight, including four in a row. Van Vleuten is the current World Tour leader, and won Strade Bianche and Liege-Bastogne-Liege and has a long history in this race. Can Spratt repeat her 2018 win? She does have a World Tour silver this season from the Trofeo Alfredo Binda race back in March, but there hasn’t been a repeat winner in the Emakumeen Bira this century!
Look for results here.