The Coopie Armada traveled from the Costa Blanca to the Costa Verde in La Vuelta Femenina this year, covering 728.3km and experiencing a range of events including crashes, hills, sprints, and wind.
The first stage was a 14.5km Team Time Trial in Torrevieja, which presented challenges such as punctures and new time trial bikes for some of the team members. Despite this, the Coopies managed to maintain discipline and finish in 16th place.
Stage 2 covered 105.8km from Orihuela to Pilar de la Horadada and was expected to end with a bunch sprint. In this stage, @josienelsonx performed well, finishing in 12th place.
Moving on to Stage 3, which covered 157.8km from Elche de la Sierra to La Roda. Initially, this stage was thought to be the least exciting of the Vuelta, but that turned out to be far from the truth. @kerryjonker attempted a breakaway after just 30km, but it was short-lived. Then, at the 60km mark, Team Movistar caused chaos by pulling hard and creating echelons. The Coopies had to work hard in the scorching Spanish sun, turning what was supposed to be an easy day into a grueling one. Although they fell victim to the echelons, all of the team members made it to the finish line unscathed.
Stage 4 of the La Vuelta Femenina began in Cuenca and ended in Guadalajara after covering a distance of 133.1km. While the race organizers had initially classified this stage as "flat," it turned out to be quite hilly. One of our Coopie riders, @sigridhaugset, attempted a breakaway at the foot of the only categorized climb of the day, but unfortunately, the peloton did not allow her to escape. Additionally, we experienced some unfortunate events during this stage, as Mari had to abandon the race, and @tirilpiril and Sigrid were involved in a severe crash and had to receive stitches. Despite this, both of them decided to continue with the race.
Moving on to Stage 5, we traveled 129.2km from La Cabrera to Mirador de Penas Llanas, which was a climbing stage with the highest point of the La Vuelta course, Puerta de Navafria, and a finish on top of a 2nd category col. During this stage, Tiril decided to quit the race, probably because of the injuries from the previous day's crash. Nevertheless, Stine impressed everyone by gradually improving her performance throughout the day, eventually finishing in 40th place. Sigrid also achieved a great result despite being injured from the previous day's crash. Unfortunately, Kerry had to leave the race too, but she was proud of herself for performing well despite her injury.
The 6th stage of the race went from Castro Urdiales to Laredo and was supposed to be the easier of the final two stages, according to the plan. However, strong winds and Annemiek van Vleuten made it difficult. The Coopies had to chase hard throughout the day as they were caught in crosswinds. During the chase, Josie had a bad crash on a downhill, but luckily didn't hit any trees and was able to finish the stage. Among the Coopies, Sigrid was the one who had the least involvement in the echelon action and finished the stage in 59th place.
The climax of this year's La Vuelta was at Lagos de Covadonga, which marked the end of Stage 7 covering a distance of 93.7 km and starting from Pola de Siero. Only three Coopies remained in the race after Josie was withdrawn for safety reasons. Stine was determined to make up for the time lost in the previous stage due to the wind, and she did so in an impressive manner by performing exceptionally well on the challenging Lagos de Covadonga. Sigrid also did a great job and both of them finished strongly. Even though Georgia faced her own set of challenges, she still managed to complete the race successfully and put up an excellent performance throughout La Vuelta.
The Coopies' final ranking in their pursuit of the red jersey was 53. Sigrid finished at 47 minutes and 22 seconds behind the winner, Stine at 1 hour and 3 minutes and 20 seconds behind, and Georgia at 1 hour and 51 minutes and 15 seconds behind the winner.