Local Basque rider Ane Santesteban stormed to second place in today’s one-day classic, Gran Premio Ciudad de Eibar, using the knowledge of the local roads to her advantage, attacking in the finale before the race came down to a six-up sprint.
Despite multiple attacks early, on it wasn’t until mid-race when one rider was able to snap the elastic and get away. The solo leader successfully opened up a dangerous lead of over two and half minutes, which prompted Team BikeExchange-Jayco to up the tempo and reduce the distance. With the help of other teams, the gap plummeted down, and the leader was finally caught at the base of the San Miguel climb, a 5.4km ascent with a 4% average, with 17km to go.
Immediately after the catch was made and the road went up, Mavi Garcia launched a fierce attack with Santesteban tight on the wheel, and the duo headed away from the bunch with Olivia Baril and Paula Patino for company. As the summit approached, Santesteban displayed her strength, upping the pace further causing Patino to lose contact, leaving just three riders at the front of the race.
Using her knowledge of the roads, the 31-year-old barrelled down the descent before the attacks started to fly, first with Baril getting away, before Santesteban also tried her luck. However, the trio remained intact and on the flat run-in the to the line, with five kilometers remaining, Jelena Eric suddenly made contact with the trio before two more riders jumped across inside two kilometers to go.
Despite all her efforts to get away during the 112km race, Santesteban had to settle for a sprint finish and took a respectable second place after a big day out.
Ane Santesteban – 2nd place
“I am really happy because the team rode really good, we arrived at the bottom of the climb as we expected, all together then Mavi attacked. I was feeling really good and I knew I had to follow her, then it was great because we also had Ruby Roseman-Gannon in the chasing group behind, so for us as a team it was the perfect situation.
In the end that group didn’t make it and we arrived for the sprint. I knew Jelena is really fast, so I was looking at her and took her wheel and when she sprinted I went full gas but Olivia Baril came from the left side faster than me to win. I am happy but this really motivates me for the next races to go really hard for the win.
It was really nice to race on home roads and also having all my friends and family along the route really helped me. And of course, knowing all the corners and the downhill is always an advantage for me and even in the finish line I knew exactly all the corners.”
Alejandro Gonzales-Tablas (Sport Director)
“I think we can be happy with the ride that the team did, we took ownership of the race, Ane rode really well and the rest of the team was really great today, doing everything they could.
We placed Ane in the best possible position and I believe she was one of the strongest on the climb there, but it wasn’t hard enough to make a difference and unfortunately one rider was just faster in the end. It would have been really nice for her to win here at a home race, but it was a close second so onto the next one.”
2022 Gran Premio Ciudad de Eibar Results:
1. Olivia Baril
2. Ane Santesteban
3. Mavi Garcia
Photo: Gomez Sport
— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com