Paterna > Valencia 91.3km
The women’s season kicks off in Spain with the fourth edition of the race. We’ve had a big sprint every year and don’t see anything changing. The route is one that doesn’t throw up any challenges, and all teams will be more than happy with a gentle start to the year and a sprint finish.
Sunny with temperatures around 15 degrees. The wind is relatively weak and will be a headwind as the bunch head towards Valencia.
The bunch approach the finish on a big highway, which means we could see some drag racing. The finish is nice and easy, the roundabout with 1km to go is the only pinch point. We do have another roundabout with 600 to go, but it’s very wide and shouldn’t cause any problems. The team who has control of the front with 1km to go will likely stay there until the finish, having a good sprint train is very important in a finish like this.
Barbara Guarischi – the experienced Italian rides for Movistar, they would love to take the win on home soil. She’s a fast sprinter but doesn’t win very often. Her form in this race is impressive, she finished second in both 2020 and 2021, but can she eventually take the win?
Susanne Andersen – this is her debut for Uno-X, and the team’s first ever race. It’s great to see them enter the peloton, and they bring an exciting mix of experience and youth. Andersen is well known as a very good lead out rider, she played a big part in many wins for Lorena Wiebes. Moving from lead out to sprinter isn’t always that easy to do, she’ll be hoping to hit the ground running. For the team Julie Leth brings a lot of experience at the highest level, she’ll be vital for them. The rest of the squad are very talented, but also very young. Lutro and Koerner are 21, Ysland is 19 and Ahtosalo is 18.
Marta Bastianelli – the Italian is now entering the veteran stage of her career, but she’s still got a lot of quality. She picked up 4 wins in 2021, and many top 10 finishes, she is a very consistent rider. The team have been taken over by UAE, an early win would be welcomed by the new bosses.
Chiara Consonni – the defending champion is back, and she looks the obvious pick to me. Still just 22 years old, the Italian is a rider with a huge amount of promise. Her team features some new signings, it will be interesting to see how they integrate into the squad.
I’ll go with Chiara Consonni to defend her title.