CIC-Tour Féminin Pyrénées: Cavalli wins protest-filled stage 2 to grab GC lead atop Hautacam

MIRADOR DE PEAS LLANAS SPAIN MAY 05 Marta Cavalli of Italy and Team FDJSuez crosses the finish line during the 9th La Vuelta Femenina 2023 Stage 5 a 1292km stage from La Cabrera to Mirador de Peas Llanas 1479m UCIWWT on May 05 2023 in Mirador de Peas Llanas Spain Photo by Dario BelingheriGetty Images
Marta Cavalli. (FDJ SUEZ) (Image credit: Getty Images)

Marta Cavalli (FDJ SUEZ) won atop the Hautacam at the protest-filled stage 2 of the CIC-Tour Féminin International des Pyrénées

The Italian rider out-sprinted race leader Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (AG Insurance-Soudal Quickstep) and Antonia Niedermaier (Canyon-SRAM), the only three riders to break free across the final steep banks of the classic climb.

With separation at the finish line, Cavalli took over the race lead by three seconds over Moolman-Pasio. Niedermaier jumped 14 places in the GC to third overall, five seconds back. 

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ SUEZ) finished fourth on the stage and moved to fourth overall, 38 seconds back, with one day remaining.

With 3.5km to go and pressing up the steepest section of the Hautacam, Uttrup Ludwig accelerated with FDJ-SUEZ teammate Cavalli, Niedermaier and Moolman-Pasio. Neve Bradbury (Canyon-SRAM) had been with the leaders but fell off the pace.

Across the next kilometre, Cavalli fought with Moolman-Pasio to move clear of the other riders, keeping the pace high. The race leader tried to drop Cavalli as the final kilometre began, but as they marked each other from behind Niedermaier was able to rejoin for an uphill sprint to the finish. Cavalli left enough in the tank for the final sprint.

Stage 2 was supposed to be the big climbing day, with attacks expected across two small categorised climbs before fireworks expected on the infamous Hautacam. However, because of unsafe conditions in the finale of stage 1, from a random driver on the course to a littering of parked cars and meandering spectators on the narrow roads, CPA President Adam Hansen held late-night negotiations with teams, UCI and race organisers. New safety measures included the addition of additional police motorbikes for stage 2.

The first 25km were neutralised, making the shortest route of the three-day stage race, originally 96km, even shorter. Riders then seemed to race for 15km before coming to a halt. More roadside discussions ensued regarding the manner in which the motorbikes passed through the peloton and, after a discussion with the CPA and race representatives, riders agreed to proceed in another neutral way to the foot of the finish climb.


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Jackie Tyson
North American Production editor

Jackie has been involved in professional sports for more than 30 years in news reporting, sports marketing and public relations. She founded Peloton Sports in 1998, a sports marketing and public relations agency, which managed projects for Tour de Georgia, Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and USA Cycling. She also founded Bike Alpharetta Inc, a Georgia non-profit to promote safe cycling. She is proud to have worked in professional baseball for six years - from selling advertising to pulling the tarp for several minor league teams. She has climbed l'Alpe d'Huez three times (not fast). Her favorite road and gravel rides are around horse farms in north Georgia (USA) and around lavender fields in Provence (France), and some mtb rides in Park City, Utah (USA).

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