La Vuelta Femenina Stage 2: Kool triumphant in sprint as Dygert narrowly misses overall lead

Marianne Vos moves into red by only one second over Dygert.

Charlotte Kool (Team DSM) outsprints Marianne Vos to take stage 2 of La Vuelta Femenina, 2023. (Photo © Cor Vos)

Stage 2 of La Vuelta Femenina featured an action-packed finale, with American Chloe Dygert narrowly missing out on a stage victory that would have put her in the red leader’s jersey, in her first WorldTour race no less. Ultimately it was Team DSM’s Charlotte Kool who took the win, with Marianne Vos finishing second and taking red from her teammate Anna Henderson thanks to time bonuses.

Dygert’s Canyon-SRAM teammates took advantage of the Category 4 climb in the final 20 kilometers to launch relentless attacks. Both Kasia Niewiadoma and Elise Chabbey tried to get away from the peloton, and their aggression successfully reduced the peloton before the base of the descent. But they failed to shed Kool, and with a flat 15 km run to the finish, DSM turned their attention to setting up a sprint.

They weren’t the only ones. Multiple teams with sprinting ambition took turns setting the pace as the race approached Pilar de la Horadada, including Movistar for Emma Norsgaard, SD Worx and Jumbo-Visma.

But Dygert looked to upset that with a hard attack at 600 meters to go, and for a few moments, it looked like she would succeed. Canyon-SRAM finished only one second behind Jumbo-Visma in the opening team time trial, so had the former ITT world champion won the stage she would have also taken the red jersey from Henderson.

Vos was the rider to close the gap to Dygert, and the Dutchwoman caught the American less than 100 meters from the line. In the last second, Vos looked around and Kool came past to win the second stage of La Vuelta Femenina and deny Dygert the stage and race lead.

Dygert’s last victory in Europe was the World Championship individual time trial in 2019, prior to her horrendous crash in the ITT in Imola in 2020. In the crash, the American sustained significant injuries and she has been working her way back to form since. Those struggles mean that, although she signed a lengthy contract with Canyon-SRAM from 2021 to 2024, she has only raced with the German team once before La Vuelta Femenina, at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2022.

Dygert managed to hold on for third on the stage and sits second overall, just one second behind Vos.

Stage 3 will see the riders cross 158 km of Spanish flatlands. There is a potential for crosswinds, as the roads from Elche de la Sierra to La Roda can be quite exposed.

Vos will wear read on Stage 3, with Dygert only one second down on the Dutchwoman. Vos’s teammate Riejanne Markus sits third overall, two seconds down.

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