The Vuelta a Burgos is a stage race held in the autonomous region of Castile and León in northern Spain. The race was formerly a national competition, but was promoted to a World Tour level event in 2021, when it was won by Anna van der Breggen.
This year, the seventh edition of the race takes place from 19th-22nd May, and it’s the second Spanish stage race in as many weeks, following hot on the heels of the inaugural Itzulia Women, and featuring largely the same cast of teams and riders.
With a mix of flat and hilly stages, there is enough packed into the four days to suit sprinters, puncheurs and climbers. However, with only relatively small ascents to contend with in the first three days, the general classification is likely to come down to the final climb on stage 4.
Pedrosa del Principe – Aranda de Deuero (121.9km)
The first stage begins to the west of Burgos and works its way south across undulating terrain. The riders have only one climb to tackle, the category 3 Coto Gallo, and it comes early on in the stage, meaning it’s unlikely to have any impact on the composition of the peloton. This first stage is almost guaranteed to end in a bunch sprint, and will have little to no impact at all on the overall standings.
Sasamón – Aguilar de Campoo (129km)
Once again, the day begins to the west of Burgos, but on stage 2 the peloton will travel north, towards the Montana Palatina national park. There are two category three climbs along the route but, with enough time for the peloton to regroup, another potential sprint will be on the cards.
Medina de Pomar – Ojo Guareña (113.4)
This short, punchy stage should bring the race to life. Once again there are just two categorised climbs, both category three rated, but the placement of these is much more significant than the previous day – the first comes with just under 20km remaining, and is likely to cause attacks to fire off the front of the bunch. If the first climb doesn’t break up the bunch, the summit finish almost certainly will, with a puncheur favoured to take the honours and possibly open up a gap on the general classification.
Covarrubias – Lagunas de Neila (125.1km)
The final stage of the race features a monster climb at its conclusion which will decide the outcome of the general classification. The peloton will face two category three ascents before they arrive at the final climb. The ascent up to Lagunas de Neila at the finish is a huge challenge, classified ‘especial’ by the Spanish grading system. It is 16km in length with an average gradient of around 4.8%, but with the toughest segment coming 3km before the finish, the riders will suffer all the way to the finish line.
With stage racing well underway, the riders taking on Vuelta a Burgos are likely to be a largely similar to the group who raced Itzulia Women the previous week.
Image: Zac Williams/SWpix
All the top teams will be present at the race, and they don’t come much bigger than SD Worx, who will as always be expected to perform well, both in terms of individual stage wins and the overall classification. Lotte Kopecky returns to the team and will have her sights set on both sprinting and punchy stages, and Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, riding her last season with the team, will be one of the top favourites to take the honours on the final stage, and potentially the overall classification.
FDJ Nouvelle-Acquitaine-Futuroscope have been arguably the team of the season so far with Marta Cavalli on top form, taking two of the three wins in the Ardennes. She will be hoping to add to her victories in Spain, and she will be supported by a strong team including the ever-lively Aussie Brodie Chapman, as well as French national champion and strong climber Évita Muzic.
Liane Lippert will also be one to watch – the Team DSM rider loves to go on the attack and has been there or thereabouts in a number of big races so far this season. Her teammate Juliette Labous could also perform well.
Canyon//SRAM’s climbing detail include Pauliena Rooijakkers, who animated races in the Ardennes and Swiss rider Elise Chabbey. Trek-Segafredo, by contrast, bring less pure climbers, focusing on punchier riders like Lucinda Brand and Shirin van Anrooij.
Image: Zac Williams/SWpix
Team BikeExchange’s Ane Santesteban has looked good so far this season, with a top ten at La Fleche Wallonne and two second places in the past couple of weeks at Spanish races. She will be keen to perform well on home turf, as will with the Spanish team of Movistar, who will rely on the likes of Katrine Allerud and Paula Patiño to bring in the wins. The latter has had a good week at the Spanish Pro races over the past couple of weeks.
Emma Norsgaard will return to racing for Movistar and is one to watch for the fast finishes, as is her Italian teammate Barbara Guarischi.
Although there are opportunities for sprinters and punchers to claim stage wins, it will likely be a climber who takes the overall victory in Burgos. In her final season of riding, and with a strong team alongside her, we predict that Ashleigh Moolman Pasio will target the race as one last opportunity for individual glory.
Cover image: Getty