Faili and Pintaric have become the first leaders of the the tenth edition of the Andalucía Bike Race presented by Caja Rural Jaén as it kicked off with a 24.5km individual time trial with 1119m of climbing that started and finished in front of Jaén’s cathedral. The Italian, Francesco Failli (ASD CICLI TADDEI), won the men’s elite category, while the Slovenian, Blaza Pintaric (Pintatim), took top honours in the women’s category.
The prologue, or Flash Stage, was fast and technical with a climb in the first half of the race and a descent that plunged racers into the finishing stretch. 800 racers, sun, and a lively atmosphere were the day’s stars. Francesco Failli was a surprise winner as he took victory ahead of the grand favourites. Failli beat his compatriots, Damiano Ferraro (Team Trek – Pirelli), and Fabian Rabensteiner (Team Trek – Pirelli) by three seconds.
Once the stage was over, Francesco Failli said, “The first climb was hard with a lot of wind, but I was able to finish it well. It’s difficult to go alone in a long time trial like this. The descent was also complicated, but we got through it. It’s too early to think about the general classification. Now we’re looking at each stage. Tomorrow will be a very different stage.”
In the women’s category, Blaza Pintaric went for the stage win from the start and decided to use a good part of her strength on the first climb. She managed her efforts on the descent – keeping the next few days in mind – but even riding cautiously, she succeeded in winning by two seconds. Janika Loiv (Estonian National Team) followed closely in second, with Lea Davison (USA Cycling and Team TWENTY20) in third place.
Blaza Pintaric remarked, “I didn’t expect to win because I’m not a cross-country rider, but I like time trials. My plan was to go fast on the climbs and be more conservative on the downhills. I’m very happy with the victory.”
Starting off from in front of Jaén’s cathedral, the racers took a tour of the city’s historic section, same as they had done in previous race editions. The day’s major climb up the Pincho ascent topped out on the peak of Jabalcuz, and then confronted racers with a final descent to the cathedral finish.
Following the traditional ribbon cutting, British Master Women’s racer, Faith Addison, was in charge of opening this special edition of the Andalucía Bike Race presented by Caja Rural Jaén. The day was sunny with perfect weather for mountain biking in Andalusia. Tomorrow’s second stage will be a marathon race format. It presents a route of 71.9km with 2190m of climbing. It will also take place in the province’s capital city of Jaén, and it will stand out for its several diverse climbs and descents, which highlight the region’s Sierra Mágina range. On a technical level, the stage will be rolling with fluid sections of singletrack and a super-fast stretch into Pegalajar.
Andalucia Bike Race Results
1 Francesco Failli (ASD CICLI TADDEI) 01:01:12
2 Damiano Ferraro (Team Trek – Pirelli) 01:01:15
3 Fabian Rabensteiner (Team Trek – Pirelli) 01:01:30
FLASH STAGE – Women
1 Blaza Pintaric (Pintatim) 01:16:29
2 Janika Loiv (Estonian National Team) 01:16:31
3 Lea Davison (USA Cycling and Team TWENTY20) 01:17:13