Ródenas triumphs at NEOM15/11/2023
Ariadna Ródenas knew she was up against the biggest challenge she has ever faced in a Titan World Series event. She won the Škoda Titan Desert Morocco 2021 and is the reigning champion of the NEOM Titan Desert Saudi Arabia. This time, the challenge was to beat Tessa Kortekaas, the cyclist who had won 9 of the 11 stages that had been disputed in Titan Desert in 2023.
From the start, Ródenas was aware that she could not leave any room for doubt or take her chances of victory lightly. So, in the queen stage of this NEOM Titan Desert Saudi Arabia, with more than 120 kilometres to go, he set out to win from minute one.
Gritting her teeth, riding fast in the most technical sections, overcoming fatigue, suffering and pain. Nothing could stop the Mondraker rider who rode the last 50 kilometres of the stage alone.
Almost half of the day, of the six hours that Ródenas spent on her bike, was spent with no one around her. Not even a cyclist to help him pull or protect her from the wind. This was the magnitude of the exhibition given today by the reigning winner of the race.
Thus, Kortekaas loses more than half an hour in the GC. Ródenas has everything she needs to win for a second time in Saudi Arabia. But nobody has given her anything for free: what she achieves in the NEOM Titan Desert Saudi Arabia will be what she herself has fought to achieve.
‘LUISLE’ TAKES HIS FIRST WIN
He didn’t need to prove anything to anyone. This victory will not be one of the most important in an incredible record. But how good it has been for Luis León Sánchez to win the queen stage of the NEOM Titan Desert Saudi Arabia 2023!
The Astana team cyclist, who already debuted in Titan World Series races in Almería a month ago, has achieved his first partial victory in a race of these characteristics. It is not his discipline, he is not a pure biker, his habitat is the road and yesterday he fell, but the class of ‘Luisle’ does not understand logic.
Three riders made it to the sprint: Sánchez himself, Enrique Morcillo and Haimar Zubeldia. A sprint that meant many things beyond the stage victory. The arrival position of the riders at the finish line serves as tiebreaker and the current leader, Morcillo, and his immediate pursuer, Zubeldia, have the same time after two days of competition.
Today was considered the queen stage of the race in terms of its toughness. More than 120 kilometers and almost a thousand meters of accumulated positive gain. All of this with technical sections, of sand and rock, that were going to test the Titans.
The leading group was just of seven runners halfway through the stage. The group was reduced to four bikers and Vicente Quiles’ mechanical problems left the fight for the stage in three names.
Thus, after the halfway point of the race, two riders already know what it means to win in the NEOM Titan Desert Saudi Arabia: ‘Luisle’ and Morcillo. The Ibizan will continue wearing the race leader’s jersey for another day. Without relaxing, of course, because Zubeldia is lurking and will not be satisfied with repeating the second place overall that he achieved in 2022.