Van Anrooij, Dygert score career-best Women's WorldTour stage race results in Burgos

 Shirin van Anrooij (Trek-Segafredo) on the podium in second overall at the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas
Shirin van Anrooij (Trek-Segafredo) on the podium in second overall at the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas

Wearing the light blue jersey of the leader in the Women's WorldTour U23 ranking, Shirin van Anrooij (Trek-Segafredo) was the only rider who could briefly follow Demi Vollering (Team SD Worx) when the latter accelerated on the lower slopes of the Lagunas de Neila climb, the finale of the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas.

While Vollering would solo away to win the queen stage and overall classification of the four-day race, the fight for the lower podium spots was more exciting.

In the end, Van Anrooij defended her four-second lead over Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (AG Insurance-Soudal-QuickStep), while Chloé Dygert (Canyon-SRAM) cracked on the final kilometres dropping from second to fourth overall.

"I am super happy about today's stage and the race as a whole. I was suffering a lot on the final climb and could see from looking at my power on the early slopes that I wasn't going to be able to go with Demi for the whole climb," Van Anrooij said after the race.

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"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 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."

After losing Vollering's wheel, she defended a steady 20-second lead over the following group with Moolman-Pasio and Dygert for a long time. But when the climb got steeper on the last three kilometres, Van Anrooij's lead began to shrink. She would end up fourth on the day, finishing alongside Moolman-Pasio.

"Honestly, I really had something extra to push because I wanted to get this result as a big thank you to the team," Van Anrooij said. "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.

"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.

"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 so much and, as I said, I think it gave me some extra power to push towards that second place."

Chloe Dygert ended up fourth overall after Lagunas de Neila
Chloe Dygert ended up fourth overall after Lagunas de Neila

Dygert was second overall after the second and third stages, but the steeper gradients of the summit finish finale were too much for the US rider in the end.

She lost contact with Moolman-Pasio and the rest, finishing almost a minute behind and dropping to fourth place overall, but Dygert was happy with her result, her best top-level stage race result of her career.

"Every day is a new day, I just try to push the limits. We are all still learning about what I am capable of. I'm pleased to be strengthening my weaknesses! It has been so nice being with the team again," she said after finishing her first Women's WorldTour race in Europe.

Moolman-Pasio had identified the steep final kilometres as her strength and caught up with Van Anrooij before trying her very best to shake the young Dutchwoman off her wheel. The South African succeeded in opening a gap on the final kilometre, but Van Anrooij clawed her way back into Moolman-Pasio's wheel and pipped her to the line.

She was disappointed with the result but praised her young teammates and looked forward to her season highlight in July.

"The girls gave their absolute best, each and every one of them. We earn the respect of other teams and we keep growing every race," she said. "They motivate me to work hard because they work hard and are so dedicated to me. We had hoped for a little more.

"The final climb didn't have the steep gradients, so it was better suited to the power riders, but I am content. I now know where I have to put in the work for the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. I am motivated for that final preparation for this big goal," said the 37-year-old who is racing her final season."