Kennedy takes second in the duel for victory at Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa

Tue 30 Jul 2019

Australian Lucy Kennedy took second in the first edition of the Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa after an attacking ride in northern Spain.

The 31-year-old lit up the race on the final climb before chasing down the solo leader on the descent, eventually finishing second behind Ashleigh Moolman (CCC – Liv) in a two-up sprint for the victory.

Hills Ahead

There were several breakaway attempts as the bunch headed out of Pamplona, but nothing stuck as the race reached the first of three categorised climbs on the 108-kilometre route to Lekumberri.

The opening climb was enough to see two riders edge away from the peloton and as the wind blew on the descent splits began to appear in the bunch as Mitchelton-SCOTT moved to the fore.

The leading duo stretched their advantage out to just shy of two minutes as the race passed over the second climb of the day, but the pair had little chance of surviving to the finish with the punishing final climb still to contend with.

Punishing Final Climb

It was all back together on the run into last ascent of the day, with Mitchelton-SCOTT driving the pace at the head of the reduced peloton. The race was blown apart as soon the bunch hit the slopes, with a small selection, including Kennedy riding clear of the field.

More and more riders began to drop away as Kennedy increased the pace, leaving just Moolman with her for company at the head of race. The duo stretched their advantage on the rest of the bunch but with a small chase group closing in behind, Moolman attacked, with Kennedy unable to respond. The South African then raced over the top of the climb alone, while Kennedy gave chase on the long descent to the finish.

Moolman appeared to be racing to a solo victory until Kennedy bridged across on the downhill with five-kilometres to go after a stunning descent. Kennedy was keen not to take it to sprint and launched an attack under the flamme rouge, but Moolman was wise to the move and reeled her back in. As the pair raced towards the line Moolman opened up her sprint and with Kennedy unable to come around her, the South African took the win.

Lucy Kennedy:
“It was a race I was really looking forward to actually, my DS sent me the profile when it came out a couple of months ago and I’ve been looking forward to it since then. It’s been nice to have such a ‘climbing’ race.”

“It was interesting actually, she [Moolman] was climbing a bit better than me today so she had a gap over the top and then I caught her on the descent. I’m not known for my sprinting ability so I did try to go with about a kilometre to go but she got back on me and out sprinted me at the end.”

“I came to win, I wanted to win and I was close, but Ashleigh was just a bit stronger on the climb today.”

Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa 2019 Results:
1. Ashleigh Moolman (CCC – Liv) 3:20:36
2. Lucy Kennedy (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:02 
3. Ane Santesteban (WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling) +1:23

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.