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25 Feb 2018

Matous Ulman and Chloe Woodruff win the first stage

The first stage was a time trial of 32.66 km route passed through the Linares mining district featuring easy, fun and fast trails.

The 2018 Andalucía Bike Race presented by Shimano started with a time trial. The 32.66 km route passed through the Linares mining district featuring easy, fun and fast trails. A solid opening effort by Matous Ulman has placed him in the men’s lead for the moment, followed by the reigning champion, Tiago Ferreira. Rounding out the men’s podium is Hans Becking. In the women’s category, American Chloe Woodruff seized the lead in the general classification, followed by Málaga’s Natalia Fisher, and Marlen Jakobsen in third position.

 

Men’s General Classification

1. Matous Ulman 1:05:23

2. Tiago Ferreira +15

3. Hans Beckins +35

 

Women's General Classification

1. Chloe Woodruff 1:18:01

2. Natalia Fisher +02: 16

3. Marlen Jakobsen +04: 10

 

The day didn’t get off to a great start since rain made an appearance for the first race starts. Despite this, the stage went as expected — fast, fun and highly demanding with a profile inclined more toward cross-country mountain bikers, but equally enjoyable for all participants. The first stage kicked off with a tour of the Linares mining district, located in the province of Jaén, and showcased single- and double-track that has earned recognition as an Andalusian Region of Cultural Interest, and is promoted by the Ministry of Culture of the Junta de Andalusia. At the same time, racers were able to experience first-hand the landscape of the Linares’s olive groves, which aspire to be recognized as a UNESCO World Humanity Heritage.

All the star power in this edition of the Andalucía Bike Race presented by Shimano rode the stage according to expectations. The only blemish on the opening day was the forced withdrawal of José Antonio Hermida, who suffered a severe allergic reaction. The intense dust that racers had to battle today, in addition to a race route dominated by olive trees, resulted in Hermida being treated by ambulance for respiratory problems typical of an allergic reaction.

In short, it was an opening day that all the riders approached with zeal — a day that met expectations and delivered satisfaction and fatigue to all participants all at once.

In the men's category, Matous Ulman confirmed that, "I'm honestly surprised with the result. I didn’t expect to feel so good from the beginning and, when I reached kilometer five, I didn’t think I was doing too badly so I continued my rhythm and, in the end, the victory was a surprise for me.”

The Ceska Sporitelna-Accolade rider said that, "Today's victory doesn’t mean that tomorrow will get repeated because it is the first of six stages, and it is the shortest. I will do everything I can to fight and win another stage, but I think Tiago is the favorite for the Andalucía Bike Race presented by Shimano, and he is the strongest rider. In addition, I have a great teammate, Hans Becking, who will make it a more difficult fight with them, and with Tiago in particular. But also my partner, Thomas Visnovsky, was ninth today and I think he will do well and help me in the next stages," said Ulman.

Today’s winner in the women’s general classification, Chloe Woodruff, indicated that "the stage was very fun, I knew it was going to be fast, having ridden the stage two days ago. I was the last to leave, so I knew I had to overcome many other participants. I was able to concentrate and I had a great time there."

Despite being first today, the American is cautious and noted that, "It will be very difficult. There are still five days left and this is my first stage race; this whole experience is new and I am very happy for this opportunity. All the people who were on the course cheering were fantastic..."

Chloe Woodruff, a cross-country specialist said, "I finished first today, it's a good start and I want to keep fighting. It's about being smart, about how I feel, about not overdoing it, and about recovering."

 

Tomorrow’s mass start

Monday’s stage will be a new and unprecedented stage for the Andalucía Bike Race presented by Shimano. From Linares, racers will depart from and return to Baños de la Encina, and will race along the adjacent trails bordering the Rumblar reservoir. It is a rolling stage that will finish on some of the trails of the Linares mining district. The stage counts about 72 kilometers distance with a cumulative elevation gain of 1,164 meters. Riders will have three feed zones, the first one at kilometer 20, the second one at kilometer 40 and the third one at kilometer 52, just prior to the beginning of the last climb.

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