It’s been a good season so far for Shirin van Anrooij (Trek-Segafredo). In her team’s classics squad, the 20-year-old Dutchwoman played a big part in Elisa Balsamo’s wins, but Van Anrooij also picked up good places for herself – enough to take the lead in the standings. Women’s World Tour U23.
Wearing the light blue leader’s jersey in the first WWT stage race, the Itzulia Women, Van Anrooij struggled with the weather on the first two stages but made amends on the third and final stage she passed. on the attack and was the last rider to be caught on the steep climb of Murgil Tontorra.
“Today was a real confidence boost for Burgos next week. Markel [Irizar, Trek-Segafredo sports director] and the team kept believing in me and wanted me to try to win the stage. I knew it would be very hot again, so I was nervous, but I felt my body was able to push itself more compared to the first two days when I just didn’t feel like myself.” finished the Van Anrooij race a high.
The final stage route was copied from the 2021 Clásica San Sebastián, and Van Anrooij explained that last year’s race informed their tactics and his decision to attack with Jeanne Korevaar (Liv Racing Xstra) at the mark of 25 kilometers.
“The plan was to try to be in the break between the Jaizkibel and the Murgil because last year the break also stayed away until the Murgil. I saw Korevaar leave and I thought it was a good time to follow her as it wasn’t too far to go all the way in. But to be honest, I didn’t really expect to create a gap all the way to the bottom of the Murgil,” she explained.
Going into the climb 35 seconds ahead of the peloton, Van Anrooij established himself as the strongest rider in the three-man breakaway which also included first breakaway Morgane Coston (Arkéa Pro Cycling Team), dropping Korevaar and Coston on the first half of the two kilometer climb. But the steep gradients of up to 19% took their toll and Van Anrooij was swept away 300 meters from the summit.
“That climb was really tough,” she said. “It wasn’t as bad as I remembered last year, but it was really tough. I tried to go at my own pace, but I could feel the chasing group getting closer.”
Finding his place in a group of ten riders behind a dominant Demi Vollering (Team SD Worx) who took his third solo victory, Van Anrooij recovered enough to sprint for the places in Donostia and finished fifth.
“I really like these races with a lot of climbing. Last year was my first time racing in San Sebastian, I really enjoyed it, so I was excited to race here again. It’s a really tough race with all the climbs and the heat made it even harder,” said Van Anrooij.
After extending her contract with Trek-Segafredo for the road and Baloise-Trek Lions for the cyclo-cross until the end of 2025 in early May, Van Anrooij now looks forward to the Vuelta a Burgos where she will continue to wear the light-blue jersey WWT U23 – although SD Worx team climber Niamh Fisher-Black is closing in and clearly challenging for the rankings the New Zealander won in 2021.