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Herrero and Kortekaas, first GC leaders

7 de October de 2023

The score between ‘road riders’ and ‘bikers’ begins with 0 – 1 in favour of the experts in mountain biking. Fran Herrero wins the first stage of this Škoda Titan Desert Almeria and wears the leader’s jersey.

The cyclist from Segovia starts as he did in the last Škoda Titan Desert Morocco, with victory and leadership after the first stage. And he has done so despite the opposition of “the World Tour people”, as the mountain bike professionals have referred to Luis León Sánchez and Luis Ángel Maté.

This trio, together with Miguel Muñoz, Pau Marzá, Javier Chacón and Miquel Faus, was the leading group during most of this first stage. A route that, especially in its first half, has always run alongside the Cabo de Gata and its spectacular cliffs.

It wasn’t until the final sector, on the way to the finish line at El Toyo, that Herrero was able to open up a gap on his competitors. “These guys are really strong”, admitted Cannondale Vas Arabay rider in reference to the two stars of the road racing world.

20 seconds behind Herrero came Javier Chacón, Luis León Sánchez and Luis Ángel Maté. First day of emotions and first triumph for the experts in the mountain bike discipline, who will still have to withstand three more very tough assaults from the feared ‘road riders’.

KORTEKAAS, WITH AUTHORITY

In the women’s GC, Tessa Kortekaas was able to prove her pre-race favouritism. On a tough day, especially because of the heat that was so intense during the entire race, the Dutch rider was able to win the race with authority over her rivals.

Four minutes ahead of her nearest rival and the other GC favourite, Ariadna Ródenas, seems a good amount of time to start the Škoda Titan Desert Almeria.

Kortekaas herself admitted yesterday that this route seemed “even harder” than the Škoda Titan Desert Morocco she won just a few months ago. Indeed, the first stage seemed to add even more credence to her assertion.

Pushing hard from the start, Cannondale Vas Arabay rider opened up a steady gap on the rest of the peloton. At the arrival at the Vela Blanca summit she was already one minute ahead and extended it to four at the finish. The current leader of the Škoda Titan Desert Almeria dominated uphill, downhill and on the flat.

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