The Lakes of Covadonga will crown the first winner of the women’s Vuelta a España | Sports

Annemiek van Vleuten, winning the queen stage of the last Tour.
Annemiek van Vleuten, winning the queen stage of the last Tour.JEFF PACHOUD (AFP)

If the difference in development between women’s and men’s cycling in Spain could be measured in time, how many years would it be? 10? 30? fifty? Or perhaps 40, like 40 are the years since the men’s Tour of Spain arrived at the Lakes of Covadonga for the first time, on May 1, 1983, rain and snow and victory for Marino Lejarreta, who made him kneel the badger Bernard Hinault. And 40 Mays later, filling the race that is now born with symbolism, seriousness and toughness, the first edition of the women’s Tour of Spain will end right there, at the summit of Lagos above Cangas de Onís, a 12-kilometre climb, hours category. The women’s Tour will end in its Tourmalet, the Giro has already promoted its Zoncolan and the Vuelta incorporates the port that in 1983, the first men’s Vuelta broadcast live, made the Spanish fans feel that their career could begin to be homologated with what came from Europe. “In an edition for history, the first, a place that is the history of cycling could not be missing,” says its director, the former cyclist from Aragon Fernando Escartín, in the booklet to present the race. “Women’s professional cycling stars in a new plot to continue rewriting the infinite legend of the Asturian colossus just on the 40th anniversary of its first ascent.”

The best Spanish cyclists, Mavi García, Ane Santesteban, will challenge the Dutch cannibal and Movistar leader Annemiek van Vleuten, world champion, in the climb that marked the men’s Vuelta for many years, before the invention of the Angliru. and winner of the Giro y Tour in 2022, and also of the reduced version of the Spanish round, the Ceratizit Challenge, which was held then.

The race that allows Spain to match France and Italy, which already had the women’s version of their Tour and their Giro, was presented on Tuesday in Torrevieja, the Alicante city from which they will depart on Monday, May 1. It will arrive in Asturias after seven stages, a long straight line that will cross the peninsula diagonally from East to North. It will begin with a 14.5-kilometre team time trial around the Torrevieja salt flats, similar to the one that opened the men’s Tour in 2019, and, after crossing the plains of La Mancha and La Alcarria from Cuenca, it will have its first day of mountain in the Segovian mountains on Friday, May 5, with the ascent of Navafría and ending at the avant-garde viewpoint of Piedras Llanas, galvanized steel to contemplate the wide Castilla from a rock in Riaza at an altitude of 1,483 meters, which is reached by a narrow winding trail, five kilometers at 6.8%, through Pyrenean oaks. After a long transfer to Cantabria, the sixth stage, from Castro to Laredo inland, will be the mid-mountain appetizer for the grand finale on May 7, 94 kilometers from Pola de Siero to the Covadonga Lakes passing through the Moandi col.

The event, organized, like the Men’s Tour, by Unipublic, and born thanks to the encouragement and support of the Higher Sports Council and its Universo Mujer program that allows the investment to be deducted, will be the first of the three greats of women’s cycling in 2023 The oldest of all, the women’s Giro d’Italia, will be held in 10 days, from June 30 to July 7, while the Tour de France Femmes will run, in eight stages, from July 23 to 30, spliced ​​with the masculine.

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