Ferrand-Prevot wins the first race of the year at the Shimano Supercup Massi La Nucía
Ferrand-Prevot takes the victory at the Shimano Supercup Massi La Nucía. The World Champion starts the season well after maintaining a great duel with Savilia Blunk that was only spoiled by an untimely flat tyre at the start of the last lap. The incident handed the victory to the Frenchwoman, Koller was second and Blunk had to settle for third place.
Ferrand-Prevot is crowned in La Nucía after a high-level duel with Blunk
La Nucía kicked off the international XCO season and Anne Tersptra pedaled hard to take the first position. The clean start led to a short first lap that stretched the group and caused a change of leadership, which went to the legs of the Norwegian Oda Laforce.
Only a few minutes had passed and the differences were minimal, so the main favorites stayed together with those who were setting the pace of the race; Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, Savilia Blunk or Greta Seiwald -current Italian runner-up- took on a secondary role waiting for their moment.
The first full lap served to see the first movements. Terpstra tightened her quadriceps and set a pace that only found a reply when she managed to put a gap of several seconds. Ferrand-Prevot was the one who got up from the seat in the tough cement uphill area and led the chase of the Dutchwoman, along with Blunk and Seiwald.
The riders kept pedaling, Blunk relieved Ferrand-Prevot in the effort and, even though both had to dismount at one of the most challenging points of the course, they managed to connect with the escaped leader. The head was then formed by these three riders, who took a truce in the following minutes. Behind them, Koller and Seiwald were fighting an individual battle to catch up with them.
The next move came punctually when the riders started the next lap. Ferrand-Prevot and Blunk joined interests and turned the pedals at a pace impossible for Tersptra.
The leading pair put some distance between themselves and Tersptra and Koller, who joined the Dutchwoman. 10 seconds. 15 seconds. Blunk stayed in front while Ferrand-Prevot sheltered behind her back, although both riders seemed to pedal without apparent difficulties. The Frenchwoman moved ahead and in the middle of the climb she put her foot down, forcing Blunk to do the same and Terpstra -now without the company of Koller- was able to reduce differences.
Ferrand-Prevot tightened the race with a change of pace that gave her several meters of advantage; Blunk struggled to keep up. Despite the attempts, Terpstra lost steam and moved away from the front positions again.
Ferrand-Prevot wanted to blow up the race with a solo adventure that frustrated an inspired Blunk who caught the world champion and returned her to the starting square: together again just before facing the brutal concrete climb section. The war at a distance turned into a body-to-body duel again. Moment of calm before trying anything else.
About 30 seconds behind, Koller was pedaling alone, although by then a rejuvenated Terpstra was again following her teammate's wheel. Meanwhile, Seiwald was riding alone in fifth position.
The balance of the race maintained the tense equilibrium between Ferrand-Prevot and Blunk. Neither of them was able to shake off the other and it was becoming increasingly certain that both were going to play for the victory in the last lap. And so it was. The last lap started, Ferrand-Prevot increased the pace and Blunk fell victim to an untimely problem with the rear wheel that made her lose time.
The following minutes confirmed Ferrand-Prevot's escape and Blunk's puncture which, without having catastrophic consequences for the American, did prevent her from battling for the victory. Despite the advantage that separated her from Koller, the situation deprived her of a calm finish and she had to show her mettle to maintain her position.
The last stages of the race unfolded without surprises and Ferrand-Prevot arrived with apparent calm to raise her arms and certify the victory in the Shimano Supercup Massi La Nucía. The World Champion, despite admitting to being a little sick, celebrated her birthday with the first victory of the season.
Koller was able to overtake Blunk with several minutes to go and finished second, while the American had to settle for third.
Meanwhile, Sofia Waite -recent signing of the BH Coloma Team- was proclaimed winner in the U23 category.
Shimano Super Cup Massi de La Nucía 2024 – Elite Women
- Pauline Ferrand-Prevot 1h 11' 32"
- Nicole Koller 1h 12' 18"
- Savilia Blunk 1h 12' 36"
- Anne Terpstra 1h 13' 01"
- Caroline Bohe 1h 14' 36"
- Greta Seiwald 1h 14' 41"
- Raquel Queirós 1h 16' 18"
- Isla Short 1h 16' 19"
- Sofia Waite 1h 16' 42"
- Linn Gustafzzon 1h 17' 46"