Sheffield wins Mountains jersey at Vuelta a Murcia – Rally Cycling

Magnus Sheffield rode an impressive Vuelta a Murcia in southern Spain on Sunday, infiltrating the early breakaway and staying away until the final 30km of the race. His efforts were rewarded with the mountains jersey, plus a special prize, the ‘Cima Marco Pantani’ for being the first rider over the highest point of the course.

“It was my first time getting in a breakaway as a pro and making two trips to the podium was a nice reward,” said Sheffield. “I didn’t think we were going to make it over the Cat 1 climb but I felt good at the top and was able to attack and get a gap. I may have been caught on the final climb but I feel like I gained a lot of valuable experience today.”

It was a tough day in the saddle, with epic rain from start to finish – a true race for the hardmen. Sheffield eventually distanced the remains of the break in the company of Antonio Soto and the pair forged on before Sheffield was finally distanced on the day’s last climb.

“The weather definitely added an element of difficulty to the race,” Sheffield explained. “I took a lot of risks on the descent but luckily I was able to stay upright.”

As Sheffield was swallowed up by the pack, an elite group of climbers forged clear. Keegan Swirbul was among them and finished an impressive 15th place on the day. The result bodes well for the man from Colorado as he sets his sights on the US Pro Road Race in Knoxville, TN on June 20.

Vuelta a Murcia results
1 SOTO Antonio Jesús Euskaltel – Euskadi 4:42:19
2 MADRAZO Ángel Burgos-BH 0:31
3 SERRANO Gonzalo Movistar Team ”
4 ROJAS José Joaquín Movistar Team ”
5 GIBBONS Ryan UAE-Team Emirates ”
6 EZQUERRA Jesús Burgos-BH ”
7 CANAL Carlos Burgos-BH ”
8 MARTÍN Gotzon Euskaltel – Euskadi ”
9 GREGAARD Jonas Astana – Premier Tech ”
10 CUADRADO Unai Euskaltel – Euskadi ”
11 AMEZQUETA Julen Caja Rural – Seguros RGA ”
12 LASTRA Jonathan Caja Rural – Seguros RGA ”
13 BERLIN Antoine Global 6 Cycling ”
14 CUADROS Álvaro Caja Rural – Seguros RGA ”
15 SWIRBUL Keegan Rally Cycling 5 6 

— Tom Owen to rallycycling.com

Franz bags mountains jersey at Burgos – Rally Cycling

After making it into yesterday’s Vuelta a Burgos breakaway and finishing level on mountains points with GC-leader Grace Brown (BikeExchange), Heidi Franz has now moved into the undisputed lead of the mountains classification after another powerful performance on stage 2.

Wearing the red jersey, ‘borrowed’ from Brown at the start of the day, Franz was able to infiltrate an escape move that saw her claim vital points over the day’s final climb. She now owns the red jersey outright and will pull it on for a second consecutive day. 

“It feels amazing to be in the mountains jersey,” Franz said. “For myself as an all-around kind of rider it gives me a lot of confidence, knowing that I can use my strength in the breakaways to gain points up the road and really put myself in the bike race. I’m really proud to wear the jersey for the team as well and showcase that we belong in the WorldTour races.”

Franz explained how the move went away.

“The group formed around 35 kilometers into the race in a really strong headwind section, heading towards another short climb of about two kilometers. It was a really difficult section to start the breakaway in and I even thought, ‘Shoot! I don’t really want to be here, this is crazy…

Eventually, Franz was caught by the peloton just two kilometers short of the line.

“I certainly started to believe that my first WorldTour podium was possible but alas the finish was two kilometers too far! But that’s the kind of racing that I love, and now I can believe in myself a bit more when the next opportunity comes.

It was a strong team performance all-round, with Clara Koppenburg and Krista Doebel-Hickok continuing to climb well, matching the efforts of the other general classification riders and coming home in the main group. They both sit five seconds down on new race leader Elise Chabbey (Canyon SRAM Racing) at 20th and 24th respectively.

Koppenburg in the bunch.

With two categorized climbs tomorrow, it will be a challenge defending her lead into the final day’s racing, Sunday, and Franz will face some stern competition from the likes of Niamh Fisher-Black, just one point behind her.

Franz has other objectives too.

“My plan for the next two stages is to prioritize my teammates Krista and Clara in the GC, because I think they are both so strong and capable of a great result – especially with the mountain top finish that suits them much better than myself.”

The UCI is producing video highlights following each Vuelta a Burgos stage so this page will be updated once they become available. For fans outside of the United States, highlights may be available to watch on GCN+.

Vuelta a Burgos mountains classification
1 FRANZ Heidi Rally Cycling 10 pts
2 FISHER-BLACK Niamh SD Worx 9pts
3 BROWN Grace BikeExchange 6pts

Vuelta a Burgos GC
1 CHABBEY Elise Canyon SRAM Racing  4:59:07
20 KOPPENBURG Clara Rally Cycling  0:05
24 DOEBEL-HICKOK Kristabel Rally Cycling  0:05

— Tom Owen to rallycycling.com