Date: Wednesday, 01 February 2023
Olav Kooij crossed the finish line in second position , but with no real chance of victory, and after the Dutchman from Jumbo-Visma, three Movistar Teams followed: Iván García Cortina, José Joaquín Rojas and Alex Aranburu , with Antonio Jesús Soto (Euskaltel- Basque Country), sixth.
The 1st stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana had a 189.4 km medium-mountain route, between the Alicante towns of Orihuela and Altea, with the main difficulty being two 2nd-class climbs, Col de Rates (14 km to 2, 9%) and Bernia (11 km at 3.8%), the latter crowned with 46 km to go.
In the first kilometers an advance group of five riders formed , who soon took a three-minute lead. They were Héctor Carretero (Kern Pharma), Xabier Isasa (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH), Riccardo Lucca (Green Project-Bardiani) and Ward Vanhoof (Flanders-Baloise).
Their advantage remained stable for several kilometres, around three minutes, until the proximity of the Col de Rates activated the rhythm of the peloton, which -with Jumbo-Visma, Astana and Intermarché taking the lead- ended up catching up with all the members of the flight along this long and stretched climb. Héctor Carretero was the last to be hunted, 6 km from reaching Rates , a height that Marc Soler would overcome in first position, followed by Damiano Caruso and Mikel Landa.
Bahrain Victorious, with Damiano Caruso in front, would take command of the race on the ascent to the Pass of Bernia, setting a pace that further selected the main group , from which many sprinters lost contact . They endured fifty riders, including Girmay, Kooij, Aranburu and García Cortina, who emerged as the top candidates in the foreseeable sprint in Altea. The pace did not stop until the finish line, with Jumbo-Visma and the Movistar Team taking over from Bahrain.
With 8 km to go, on the last slope of the day, he tried to surprise the Valencian Euskaltel-Euskadi runner Joan Bou. A perfect connoisseur of the area, he challenged the peloton but the task was very difficult and he ended up succumbing with 2.5 km to go, at the entrance to Altea, with the group launched in search of a sprint that showed us the best version of Biniam Girmay, a top sprinter in a team that never tires of winning. The Eritrean already looks yellow in the Valencian round
Tomorrow, the 2nd stage will take the cyclists from Novelda to Alto de Pinos, in Benissa, on a 178.2 km route with a succession of mountain passes (seven) and an unprecedented finish at Alto de Pinos, to whose finish line it arrives after a 3.2km climb at 7.2%.
VALENCIA. The Eritrean cyclist Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) won this Wednesday the first stage of the 74th Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, disputed between Orihuela and Altea over 189.4 kilometers, after a fast stage despite the two heights that the platoon.
Girmay made his debut in Valencia, being the first Eritrean to win in the Valencian round, and he did so by attacking from afar after gaining the best position in the final sprint, beating Olav Kooij (Jumbo-Visma).
Despite the fact that Mikel Landa's Bahrain-Victorious took the initiative in the last kilometers of the peloton, Girmay finally imposed his strength despite the efforts of the Movistar Team, who made a 'triplete' from third to fifth with Iván García Cortina, José Joaquin Rojas and Alex Aranburu.
After spotting a highway to the left, Girmay opened up and passed Kooij and the Movistar Team train. Many, seeing the superiority of the Eritrean, gave up the attempt and it is that he came to have more than one bicycle margin over the Dutchman.