Neutral Service is, of course, all about British women’s cycling. Bizkaia-Durango press officer Marcos Marín’s report on the Spanish National Junior Championships is, obviously, not about British women’s cycling – but since the aim of this site is to cover news that doesn’t get covered elsewhere and by doing so try to help women’s cycling grow, here it is.
The Spanish National junior Championships took place this weekend in the Aragonian city of Sabiñánigo – better known for holding every year the Quebrantahuesos cyclo-tourist race. On a hard terrain, there wasn’t space for the surprises and the biggest favorites for the victories won their races. María Calderón took an impressive win for the second consecutive year on the individual time trial, and 24 hours later Rocío García, who had been third in 2014, got the red and yellow jersey on the road race.
On Saturday the time trial won by Calderón was held on a 13.9 km flat, non-technical course with many favorites for the podium places on the table. Míriam Gardachal was the first rider to set a good time in the finish line, while Yurani Blanco (23rd on the Tartu European Champs TT) and Julia Rodríguez (raced Ponferrada Worlds TT) weren’t able to beat her.
She wasn’t amongst the main favorites for the victory as she is not a time trial specialist, but Rocío García (raced Emakumeen Bira and ended up in the GC top-25 with the pros earlier this year) got the best time both in the intermediate point and in the finish line with just four riders to come. Those four riders were Naia Leonet, Paula Sanmartín, Teresa Ripoll and María Calderón, and Leonet (bronze), Ripoll (silver) and Calderón (gold) were the only competitors able to set a faster time than García, who could ‘only’ be fourth. “After a really hard year it is very special to re-win this title. I love growing and getting to know myself this way,” Calderón said after her win
There were only 65 km to decide the winner of the road race, but although the parcours was pretty short the riders, competing for their regional teams and not with their trade teams, showed why the National Championship is the most important race of the year. In the first 12 kilometers of the race, the Castille and Leon regional team set the pace, reducing the bunch to only 22 riders within the first climb of the day. Galician Paula Sanmartín tried to escape from the big group and quickly got a 45 seconds gap, but again Castille and Leon closed that gap.
There were no further moves until the second lap, halfway through the race, when Rocío García (Madrid) and Yurani Blanco (Balearic Islands) attacked. With a big lack of organisation for chasing them both, the duo soon got a big gap: over a minute in only 7 kilometers. A six-rider group was formed behind them with María Calderón (Castille and Leon), Elisabet Llabrés (Balearic Islands), Eukene Larrarte (Basque Country), Irene Trabazo (Galicia), Esther Cañete (Aragon) and Sandra Alonso (Valencia), and few kilometers later another six riders caught them, forming this way a new 12-rider chasing group.
But it was too late when these 12 riders started their actual chase as the gap for García and Blanco was already a minute and fifty-five seconds with 15 km to go. Anyway, the 12 do their best in order to catch them, reducing the gap to only 7 seconds when they got to the finish line. Rocío García won the sprint ahead of Yurani Blanco, who got the silver in her first year as a junior, while Sandra Alonso was the fastest girl in the chasing group, getting the bronze.