Cuban Arlenis Sierra crossed the finish line Friday in third place, after a massive packing that closed the opening stage of the V Women’s Tour of Catalonia 2024, run on a circuit with start and finish in the town of Manresa.

Sierra, from the Spanish Movistar team, covered the 100.6 kilometers in 2:46.13 hours, a time that was also set by the leaders of the day, Ally Wollaston (Ag Insurance) and the phenomenon of the Netherlands, the veteran Marianne Vos (Visma), who could not yield to the young New Zealand rider.

In a practically summery day, conditioned by the heat and an inclement sun, the peloton controlled the race at all times and crowned in group the first scoring pass of the day, the Coll de Pinós (3rd), with the Catalan Mireia Benito (AG Insurance-Soudal) in third position behind her teammate Justine Ghekiere and the Norwegian Mie Ottestad (Uno-X Mobility).

Despite the rebelliousness of Catalan Mireia Trias (Massi-Baix Ter), who launched several distant and solo attacks that were neutralized, the big teams took the lead of the peloton and dissuaded any breakaway attempt before climbing the Coll de Cal Pallarès (3rd), the second scoring pass of the day, about 21 kilometers from the finish.

Benito pulled the group back to crown the summit in second place behind Ghekiere amid a tense calm, with the blocks of Visma-Lease a Bike, Cofidis, Movistar, FDJ-Suez and AG Insurance-Soudal at the front.

In the middle of the descent, French rider Laura Asencio (WNT Pro Cycling) took advantage of a stretch of hairpin bends to launch an attack that was seconded by other riders, and Russian rider Anastasiya Kolesava (Canyon) also tried her luck alone on the flat with three kilometers to go, but both attempts were stifled by the big teams, who wanted to decide the race in a sprint.

AG Insurance-Soudal played its cards better in the final meters and Wollason took the victory, ahead of Marianne Vos and Arlenis Sierra, before the Volta heads to the Pyrenees this Saturday for the second stage, starting in La Seu d’Urgell and finishing in La Molina (95.7 kilometers).

The elite exponents of women’s cycling, many of them preparing for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, as well as the Cuban champion, who will attend her third summer event. Arlenis is currently ranked 24th in the International Cycling Union (UCI) ranking.

This Saturday the multicolored peloton will head towards the Pyrenees for the second stage, between the towns of La Seu d’Urgell and La Molina (95.7 km). Sunday concludes the race with a section that will end precisely in the Olympic city of Barcelona.