The Portuguese Vera Vilaça (Velo Performance / JS Campinense) was fourth in the second stage of the Volta a Portugal Feminina Cofidis, this Saturday between Monte Redondo and Ourém.
The victory went to the Swedish Nathalie Eklund (Massi Tactic).
The 78,1 kilometers started in the locality of Monte Redondo in Leiria and were marked by a start without big climbs, but hardened by the wind, which was causing “cuts” in the peloton. Even so, it was a large group that arrived in front of the only mountain of the day, the ascent to the top of Reguengo, 22,5 kilometers from the finish.
«In the second category ascent, the women of Massi Tactic hardened their pace and a front was formed with just seven runners, including Vera Vilaça. The Portuguese also launched an attack on the way through the flying goal of Fátima, catching Nathalie Eklund, who was left behind, unprepared", says the Portuguese Cycling Federation in a statement.
However, the Nordic, with the help of a teammate, was able to re-enter the front of the race, four kilometers from the finish. On the cobblestones of Ourém, the runner who wears the Yellow Jersey Jogos Santa Casa since the prologue won the stage after 2h03m13 of race.
At the same time, and in that order, Mireia Benito (Massi Tactic), Haether Mayer (Team LDN/Brother UK) and Vera Vilaça arrived.
«It was a really tough stage, the responsibility of my team, which did a great job to toughen up the race. I also suffered a lot and made a mistake, before the last flying goal. I was at the back of the group and lost contact with the front of the race. Fortunately, I had the help of a partner to get back to the front of the race and then I won the sprint», describes the Swede who dominates the competition.
Nathalie Eklund keeps the Yellow Jersey Jogos Santa Casa safe, with a margin of 10 seconds for Mireia Benito and 25 seconds for Heather Mayer.
Vera Vilaça is fourth, 27 seconds away. Ana Caramelho (Kiwi Atlantico Louriña) is the other Portuguese in the top 15, occupying the 13th position, 1m18s from the captain.
“It was a very tough stage right from the start, due to the side wind and the strong pace. When we reached the mountain the pace got even stronger. I managed to respond to the attacks. At the second half goal I still made an attack and managed to stay in a restricted group, but the yellow jersey caught us. Today I showed that I continue to discuss the race with the best ones», says Vera Vilaça.
The third and final stage takes place this Sunday, June 19th. It departs from Aveiro at 12:15 pm to finish, after covering 104,7 kilometers, at the third pass through the finish line, installed in the Sports Pavilion.
The final stage of the stage will allow testing in competition the course that, on the 9th and 10th of July, will host the European Under-23 and Under-19 Championships.