The longest stage of the race lay ahead of the peloton today as they rolled out of Palencia. Faced with a total of 160 kilometres, the route was incredibly hilly in the opening part of the day before a longer flatter section and a punchy finish, which included some gravel and cobbles in the closing ten kilometres.
It was an attacking start to the day but Olympic champion Kiesenhofer eventually broke the elastic and forged on solo, building up a gap that reached over nine minutes. Unfortunately, the team lost Léa Curinier who abandoned the stage after a crash.
As the afternoon and early evening hours ticked by, Kiesenhofer’s gap reduced but for a long time the stage result hung in the balance. However, after a big increase in pace going onto and after the gravel section, the peloton had Kisenhofer in their sights and the catch was made inside two kilometres to go. After being well positioned by the team, Liane Lippert launched a stinging attack after coming out of the last hairpin bend with 700 metres to go. Pushing all the way to the line, a quartet of riders would finish ahead of Lippert on the cobbled uphill finale – but she would still take home a strong fifth place for the team – and move up to fourth on GC ahead of tomorrow’s final stage.