HomeUncategorizedRace Reports: Cyniscas Take the Win for Second Year at Clásica de Almeria (1.1)

Race Reports: Cyniscas Take the Win for Second Year at Clásica de Almeria (1.1)

Excellent teamwork helped secure Lauren Stephens the win and Fiona Mangan an 8th place finish at the Clásica de Almeria in southern Spain. This was the second year a Cynisca stood atop the podium at the end of this race. Emilie Fortin had the honor in 2023 at Cynisca’s second race ever.

Sport director Gillian Ellsay explained the one-two-three-punch strategy and teamwork in her post race report:

“We broke the 102.5 kilometer race into three parts. The first part, 0 until 55 km, was the windy section along the coast. The team was to ride together and be vigilant for the crosswind sections or for HPH and Ceratizit looking to split it in the wind. Claire, Greta, Pauline, Chloe and Emilie all rode strategically to protect Lauren and Fiona through this section. Around the 40 km mark the race was split briefly by HPH with a group of ten, including Lauren four HPH, three Ceratizit, one Laboral, and one Spanish club rider. Laboral chased hard in the peloton as they were unhappy with this scenario. Lauren sat pretty in this group conserving enough energy as possible. This group of ten was brought back around 5-10 km before the base of the climb.

Cynisca marked the main climb as well as the decisive left turn as part two of the race. Claire was an absolute legend and led the team into this left turn. This allowed Lauren and Fiona to safely descend and conserve energy before the next climb started. We decided that if the climb hadn’t been aggressive enough before the 2nd QOM, then we would start attacking to set Lauren up for a breakaway. Emilie, Claire, Pauline, Greta, and Chloe all played a part in attacking to set the breakaway up.

Part three was the top of the climb to the finish. Once the break went – it was about pushing the gap out as much as possible before the main descent into the finish. Once Lauren and HPH’s Yuliia Biriukova were off the descent, they were in time trial mode to the finish. Pauline and Fiona did what they could to disrupt the chase of Laboral and Ceratizit WNT. Lauren played the sprint perfectly waiting a bit late as it was a slight uphill into a headwind. Pauline helped Fiona into the last corner, and Fiona sprinted to a strong 6th in the field sprint (8th overall).”

Clasica de Almeria 2024 – 2nd Edition – Puebla de Vícar – Puebla de Vícar 102 km – 25/2/2024 – Yuliia Biriukova (UKR – Human Powered Health) – Lauren Stephens (Cynisca Cycling) – Linda Zanetti (SUI – Human Powered Health) – photo Carlos Barba/SprintCyclingAgency©2024

Cyniscas Open Season Before Training Camp with Vuelta CV Feminas (1.1)

With many of the riders arriving in Spain just in time for the race, the Cyniscas donned their new PEARL iZUMi kits for the first time at the Vuelta CV Feminas. The race served as a season kick-off before some fine-tuning at the team training camp. Lauren Stephens finished the race strongly, just a 13 seconds behind a small break-away group for 13th place overall. Sport Director William Innes breaks it down below:

“The 93 km course of Vuelta CV Feminas consisted of two large climbs and a long run into the finish and began very early on a chilly morning. Our riders lined up with 114 other ladies and fought well throughout the day.

The lead into the first climb was gradual and the race kicked off by an attack by a Cofidis rider, who was quickly joined by two others, including Cynisca Allison Mrugal, who was riding super aggressively. Ali was able to nab second place points over the top of the first QOM. The small gap never grew to more than 25 seconds and was reabsorbed on the fast descent off the mountain. Quite a few riders were gapped off on the descent, but the Cynisca team held tough and pushed forward towards the end of the valley, through some small towns and into the technical section before the second category 1 climb.

Fiona Mangan, Greta Richioud, Emilie Fortin and Chloe Fourmigue all helped Lauren into a great position to the foot of the Cat 1 climb, where the race would surely be decided. Emilie unfortunately took a hard fall in a crash and was unable to continue (she is uninjured). The climb, which was extremely steep, with rough roads, sorted out the riders quickly. Riders started filtering back and the ladies that did so much work previously found their groups that would ride to the finish. Allison was just gapped off the back of Lauren’s group and was fighting in the cars for 10km, then eventually gathered up other riders.

Lauren’s group caught up with some heavy hitters and those groups consolidated into the bunch, which was just behind the three leaders for about 20km. It was 25 riders chasing three, but only the teams with sprinters were doing the chasing and Lauren sat cleverly towards the rear, conserving energy. In the finale, quite a few riders fell off, causing small splits which Lauren and others had to close, costing a bit of energy. The break split, and it was the bunch against one, and Cedrine Kerabol (Ceratizit) was able to hold off the hard charging group for the win. Lauren finished 13th, just 13 seconds back.

All in all the team rode very well, together and focused. Great to get our first race behind us and now onto training camp!”

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