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11 May 2019

Dascalu claims the leader’s jersey; and García maintains her dominance

The Las Neveras descent shatters the lead group to determine the men’s podium

May 11, 2019 Logroño – This is the stage that shook up the general classification. After a quick start, a lead group of ten racers formed and set a pace that forced everyone to pay attention. The BUFF®-Scott MTB Team, as in previous days, controlled the lead positions in order for José María Sánchez to defend the leader's jersey. That lead group split apart at the summit of the last climb, Moncalvillo, where Dascalu executed an attack to overtake the group and solo the last kilometers to win the stage. The podium put Dascalu first, followed by Morcillo, with Ismael Esteban in third place. In the women’s category, Galicia put pressure on García, with whom she rode for the entire stage, to arrive at the finish line with the same time – without sprinting or leveraging her fame as the 5-time champ and stage winner.

A demanding third stage in every sense of the word

The 84-kilometer BUFF® SUPER STAGE with an elevation gain of 2,263 m traveled through wide, fast doubletrack that allowed the pack to stretch out before reaching the Calzada Romana. José María Sánchez (BUFF®-Scott MTB Team) set a fast pace at the front of the race followed by Vlad Dascalu (Brújula Bike Racing Team) and Ever Alejandro Gómez (Olympia Factory Cycling). The three mountain bike racers would wage a mighty battle throughout the stage, seeking to claim the leader’s jersey.

After a few peaceful kilometers up to Nestares, where the BUFF®-Scott MTB Team controlled all the moves, the day’s most punishing climb started up to the Moncalvillo antennas. It was a challenging stretch that served to whittle down the lead group even more.

In the women’s category, everything was up in the air between Rocío del Alba García (BH-Templo Cafés UCC) and Clàudia Galicia (Megamo Factory Team). The Riojan, who knew the terrain, also knew how hard the stage would be and therefore resisted making a break from the group in which she was riding alongside Galicia. The 5-time race champion  applied  pressure after the climb, but García wasn’t going to give up the lead, so, after a level finishing straightaway, both mountain bike racers arrived together in Logroño without a sprint. It was the 5-time champions who took the win in the BUFF® SUPER STAGE.

The finish in the elite men’s category was  totally the  opposite. After reaching Moncalvillo, the lead group began the descent to Sojuela. Once they arrived in Entrena, the racecourse turned favorable, which allowed Dascalu to make his  escape and reach the finish line first,  thus snatching the lead from Sánchez.  The intense work by the BUFF®-Scott MTB Team was the best it could because, although Miguel Muñoz, who was farther behind, tried to pull Sánchez, who punctured, up to the front, but it was impossible to make up time. Morcillo managed to reach the finish line second and get  closer to the lead. Ismael Esteban (Aldro-Arrueda) closed  out the men’s podium. Today Esteban earned  his just rewards after yesterday's big effort.


The stage classification is as follows:


1. Vlad Dascalu 03:10:33

2. Enrique Morcillo 03:11:51

3. Ishmael Esteban 03:12:43


With today’s results, the lead changes and the elite men’s GC is:

1. Vlad Dascalu 06:34:39

2. José María Sánchez 06:36:39

3. Enrique Morcillo 06:36:40

4. Ever Alejandro Gómez.  06:37:13

5. Alberto Losada 06:41:17



Vlad Dascalu: "From the stage’s start, the Buff team took control and pulled until the first climb; they have the most riders and they also had the lead. Afterward, the group was selected and six riders entered the Calzada Romana. Before the descent I took the opportunity to attack, I entered the trail first and tried to keep the gap until the end.”


Enrique Morcillo: "We started off by controlling the other riders because we were protecting the race leader, José María. Miguel Muñoz displayed such a huge effort on the climb that nobody gave up his position. On the last descent José María Sánchez suffered a puncture; Miguel Muñoz stopped to help him. From there another race started afresh. When we reached the bottom, I was second and Vlad was one minute ahead. 


Ismael Esteban: "It was a great struggle today. After yesterday I just had to hang on, because the lead group escaped. I wasn't lucky yesterday but today, in the end, there was a reward.  I'm very satisfied. The marathon stages are a new world to me, but every day I'm adapting a little more and things are getting better.”


In the women’s category, the stage classification is as follows:


1. Clàudia Galicia 03:49:23

2. Rocío del Alba García 03:49:23

3. Hildegunn Hovdenak 04:02:10


There’s no change in the general classification and remains:

Elite Women General

1. Rocío del Alba García 07:49:59

2. Clàudia Galicia 07:51:26

3. Sanne Van Paassen 08:27:28

4. Hildegunn Hovdenak 08:28:44

5. Lierni Lekuona 08:48:49




Rocío del Alba García: "Today was the Queen Stage, a stage that marks the La Rioja Bike Race. Tomorrow is the last stage; you have to conserve your strength. We are still leading and I'm very happy with today."


Clàudia Galicia: "It was a hard and fun stage. I did it together with Rocío – even on the Calzada Romana, I grabbed her wheel and was able to follow her, so I enjoyed it even more because she knows the area and we were able to pick up a good rhythm. From there, I did some time on the front, she hung on to my wheel, and I gained more than a minute in the general classification. I am happy because I felt good. She is executing her strategy and trying to keep the lead; we entered the finish together. Personally I am very satisfied.”




FINISHER STAGE (XCM). May 12, 2019 | 48.5 km + 987 m elevation gain

This last decisive stage will settle the men’s and women’s podium, which is wide open for a stage with a completely different start than that of previous days. A long, steep climb starts from Alberite and passes through Clavijo to continue with more demanding climbing until reaching the highest point of the Nalda mountains. From there, three consecutive descents are linked up: the Trevijano, the Fraile and the new Resentida trails. This is after riding Las Ruinas once again and reaching Nalda. Near Logroño there’s a new trail, La Culebra. Riders will ride around the Pico del Águilar to finish on the same stretch as in the previous stage.

La Rioja Bike Race




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