The leader of the UCI's best young rider rankings continues to show her ever growing talent and potential as she secured second on the General Classification after a final uphill battle at Vuelta a Burgos Feminas.
Trek-Segafredo made sure the pressure was on the shoulders of Team SD Worx approaching the bottom of the final climb up to Lagunas de Neila, racing aggressively and sending riders into breakaways, including Elisa Balsamo and Lucinda Brand, to force them to have to do the lion’s share of the chasing.
Balsamo was one of three riders out at the front of the racing and the trio was caught moments before the road finally began to rise on the 11.7-kilometer-long ascent, which had an average gradient of 6.3 percent, and the battle of the climbers began.
Demi Vollering (Team SD Worx) made her move early with nine kilometers to go to the top and, in that moment, only van Anrooij was able to follow the wheel of her Dutch compatriot.
When a gap opened up between the duo a couple of kilometers later, van Anrooij kept her composure and continued to ride her own tempo between Vollering and the first chasing group. The young Trek-Segafredo rider’s grit and determination was clear and she worked hard to maintain her virtual second place on the General Classification after being eventually joined by a handful of other riders.
One of those other riders was Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio who was just four seconds behind van Anrooij at the start of the day and posed the biggest risk to her final position overall.
It was an exciting final kilometer as van Anrooij looked to be clinging to the back wheel of the South African, however, she was able to find the extra gear needed in the final moments of the race to come around Moolman-Pasio and out-sprint her to the line for fourth place on the stage and secure second overall behind Vollering.
A very well-deserved trip to the podium for @x_shirin after showing some real grit and determination today at #VueltaBurgos 👏💪🥈 pic.twitter.com/WiEbuD639S
— Trek-Segafredo (@TrekSegafredo) May 21, 2023
In Shirin’s words…
"I am super happy about today's stage and the race as a whole. I was definitely suffering a lot on the final climb and I could already see from looking down at my power on the early slopes that I was not going to be able to go with Demi for the whole climb but I was there and I was the only one able to follow her when she made her first move so I hoped that I would be able to stick with her and sit on her wheel to flatter section but I ended up getting dropped before that.
I was on my own at first and then the group came back from behind me so, I just tried to push with everything I had left to end in front of Moolman-Pasio to know for sure that I would finish on the podium of the GC. I had Markel [Irizar] as the DS in my ear and he was really motivating me throughout the whole climb and talking me to the top.
Honestly, I really had something extra to push because I wanted to get this result as a big thank you to the team. The way we rode this week together was super special and I was so nervous for today, even during the race, to get to the climb because I really wanted to do well for the team. They did a perfect job protecting all day, keeping me well-positioned and trying to get in every break to make sure we were never chasing. Every time I looked around me I had a teammate in front of me, next to me, and behind me. There was just so much support. Everyone believed in me and I just needed to believe in myself so I am super happy I could finish it all off with a second place on the GC.
I already surprised myself on the second stage with the echelons. I felt good on stage one and was also nervous for the echelons on stage 2 because I knew that would be a big GC factor but then I was there and today, I knew I needed to give everything I had in my legs to try to fight for that podium spot. It's my first time ever finishing on the GC podium of a WorldTour stage race and it's super awesome. I am really happy and want to say again thank you to the team and Markel because their support and trust in me as a rider this week meant to so much and, as I said, I think it gave me some extra power to push towards that second place.